Pyeongchang or Pyongyang? Twitter users place Olympics in North Korea

A NASA image of the Korea Special Olympics in 2013

A NASA image of the Korea Special Olympics in 2013

"Kim Jong Un is clearly serious about reviving talks with the South to improve relations", said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to Moon.

A rare invitation to Pyongyang for South Korea's president marked Day Two of the North Korean Kim dynasty's southern road tour, part of an accelerating diplomatic thaw that included some Korean liquor over lunch and the shared joy of watching a "unified" Korea team play hockey at the Olympics. Kim's sister, Kim Yo-jong, personally delivered the message as she was in Seoul for the Winter Olympics. Moon had said "let's create conditions to make it happen", the official said, an indication that Moon was likely to accept the invitation.

The two were seated not far from a section of North Korean cheerleaders who attended the Olympics in a sign of warming ties between the two Koreas that Pence and other USA officials have warned against.

"And he is encouraging both sides to come together".

Moon is desperate to use the games as an opportunity to restore regular communication with North Korea and eventually pull it into talks over resolving the worldwide standoff over its nuclear program.

Moon and Kim Yo Jong broke out broad smiles as they shook hands ahead before the start of the opening ceremony at Pyeongchang's Olympic Stadium.

Moon met with Kim Yo Jong and senior North Korean officials over lunch at Seoul's presidential palace in the most significant diplomatic encounter between the rivals in years.

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games that began on Friday, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programmes previous year and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.

While he was in South Korea, Pence opted to ignore the North Koreans but didn't avoid meeting with them, the official said. North Korea has said its nuclear weapons are not for bargaining away. But North Korea's record on human rights and the growing threat from its nuclear weapons program appeared out of mind.

Moon would like to bring both North Korea and the United States to the table.

Pyongyang conducted its largest nuclear test past year and said it had developed a missile capable of carrying a warhead to the United States.

In stark contrast, two kinds of kimchi - the fermented cabbage that features in every Korean meal - were on the menu for lunch Saturday, one mild Northern style version and a spicier Southern recipe, a Blue House official told AFP, along with soju, the traditional Korean rice liquor.

"I leave here very confident that we are going to continue to do the things we've known have to be done to continue to pressure North Korea to abandon their nuclear ambitions", Pence said.

A spokesperson said: "The vice president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions".

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

The two Koreas have a rocky and sometimes violent history at the Blue House.

After the opening ceremony, the North Korean delegates moved to Seoul and spent the night at the Walkerhill hotel, a riverside facility named after late U.S. Army commander Walton Walker, who's considered a Korean War hero in the South.

However, no member of North Korea's ruling family has ever before visited the Blue House, which is near where North Korea founder Kim Il Sung - Kim Yo Jong's grandfather - sent dozens of commandos to assassinate former South Korean military strongman Park Chung-hee in 1968.

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