Pence sidesteps encounter with North Korean official

Pence to visit memorial for torpedoed warship, underscoring danger of North Korea

Pence to visit memorial for torpedoed warship, underscoring danger of North Korea

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Friday will visit a memorial for a South Korean warship torpedoed by North Korea before he attends the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, U.S. Embassy officials in Seoul said.

"The North Koreans should understand that for a summit or any kind of serious talks to occur, Moon needs to be able to take something to Washington - something that addresses denuclearization", he said before the North's invitation to Moon was announced. The U.S. and Finland women's hockey teams also play Saturday.

But Pence has not let up on the tough rhetoric he's been delivering since arriving in Asia.

He also reiterated the Trump administration's stance that the USA would take whatever "action is necessary to defend our homeland", including military operations, as it seeks to denuclearise the North.

He is expected to be joined by an unspecified number of North Korean defectors.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang "at an early date", South Korean officials said on Saturday, potentially setting up the first meeting of Korean leaders in more than 10 years.

The outfits include Zhivago-style fur pillbox hats (one might say they look more like they'd belong to another authoritarian regime north of the Korean Peninsula), ruby red car-length coats with black fur stoles, black leather gloves, and booties.

Moon and Kim Yo Jong broke out broad smiles as they shook hands before the start of the opening ceremony.

Such a high-level meeting would have been unthinkable even a few months ago, but 2018 has seen an accelerated rapprochement between the two adversaries in the run up to the PyeongChang Games, the CNN report said.

The spokesman says Moon also called for a quick resumption of dialogue between the United States and North Korea.

"We wanted to show the alliance seated together", the official said.

Sources told CNN that sending ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam and Kim's sibling reads as more of a symbolic act than any concrete diplomatic initiative by North Korea.

"We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games", he said in Japan earlier this week. "But he stayed there the entire time. and talked to Moon and Abe and their spouses, and the North Koreans sat in the back and didn't talk to anybody, and that image is telling".

Moon has invited Kim and other senior North Korean officials to a luncheon at Seoul's presidential palace on Saturday.

Speaking past year at his swearing-in ceremony, Moon said he would be willing to travel to Pyongyang "under the right conditions", adding that "for peace on the Korean Peninsula, I will do everything that I can do".

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