N. Korean leader invites S. Korea's Moon to the North--president's office

An aerial view Pyeongchang's Alpensia Resort during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games

An aerial view Pyeongchang's Alpensia Resort during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games

Earlier in the day, Kim Yo-jong delivered her brother's letter to President Moon Jae-in, which includes an invitation of the South's leader to Pyongyang at an early date.

Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, was at the opening ceremony with North Korea's nominal head of state, 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam.

North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

Moon and Kim Yo Jong will have another opportunity to talk when they attend the second and final performance by a visiting North Korean orchestra on Sunday evening in Seoul, a Blue House official said.

The six nations were working to implement a framework deal they reached in September 2005 under which Pyongyang was to give up its nuclear programme in return for massive economic and energy aid and an end to its diplomatic isolation.

The KCNA report cited Moon as saying inter-Korean relations should be mended by the parties concerned "at any cost as indicated by Chairman Kim Jong Un in his New Year Address".

"We should firmly keep in mind any talks where denuclearisation is not a precondition only buy North Korea more time to complete its nuclear capabilities while they fool us with their peace offensive façade", said Chang Je-won, spokesman for the Liberty Korea Party.

Vice President Mike Pence did not deliberately snub North Koreans at an Olympic reception, according to USA officials who pushed back on South Korean reports that Pence deliberately came late to a VIP gathering Friday evening and then snubbed officials from Pyongyang. The vice president also drew criticism from some openly gay members of Team USA, who questioned his role at the Olympics due to his anti-LGBT views.

The North's invitation, Manning said, apparently puts Seoul in a hard position, where it needs to prove its efforts will bear fruit.

North Korean officials refused to meet with any USA representatives after months of tensions between the two countries over the North's nuclear weapons program.

In the days leading up to the Olympics, Pence warned that the North was trying to "hijack the message and imagery" of the event with a propaganda campaign, according to Reuters.

Moon is eager to use Kim Yo Jong's presence at the games to restore regular communication with North Korea and eventually pull it into nuclear talks.

The delegations shared a lunch of dried pollack dumpling soup, a regional specialty of the only divided province on the Korean peninsula, and soju, a spirit popular on both sides of the heavily militarized border.

But Moon, a liberal who has always wanted to engage the North, will also have to convince a good portion of his own people who are deeply wary about North Korean intentions.

Even if there are more meetings between the rivals after the Games, accomplishing something is another matter.

That stance, though, could complicate South Korea's relations with the United States.

Mr Moon later officially declared the Olympics open, followed by a burst of fireworks.

"It seems clear", he said, "that the countries have entered a phase of restoring a regular level of contact".

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