United, They Fall: Korean Hockey Team Loses, 8-0, in Olympic Debut


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has dispatched his younger sister to the Winter Games in the hopes that an Olympic "charm offensive" will buy his brutal regime time to develop its ballistic missile program and perhaps even ease some of the worldwide sanctions that are crippling the isolated nation's economy.

Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un stands alongside Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's ceremonial head of state, in the row just above South Korea President Moon Jae-in and his wife, Kim Jung-sook.

Though South Korea is hosting the Winter Olympic Games for the first time, the nation has some experience in the world of global athletics, having hosted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. South Korean President Moon Jae-in tried hard to get the United States and North Korea together.

The North's presence has dominated the headlines in the early days of the Olympics, with all eyes turning to Swiss- educated Kim Yo Jong, believed to be 30, who is among her brother's closest confidantes.

The Olympian converted to the Catholic faith alongside her mother in 2008 after they came in contact with local nuns and Catholic organizations through her personal physician - also a Catholic - who was treating her for knee injuries.

"Maintaining secure operations is our objective", said International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams. "Because we are one!"

A senior White House official said Pence was not trying to avoid the delegation from North Korea but rather ignore them, according to the AP. The senior US official said Pence was not trying to avoid the North Korean officials but rather ignore them. It was built in the 1960s under the government of late anti-communist dictator Park Chung-hee as a luxury facility for US troops stationed in South Korea.

There was joy for the home nation when short-track speed skater Lim Hyo-jun won South Korea's first gold medal. They were whisked back and forth between Seoul and the Olympic towns of Pyeongchang and Gangneung.

They have shared kimchi and soju, sat in the same box at the Olympics opening ceremony and cheered a unified women's ice hockey team.

Their build-up to the Games was less than smooth - their only practice match resulted in a 3-1 defeat by Sweden and the language barrier also required coach Sarah Murray to have her commands translated from English into Korean and then into North Korean so those players could understand.

"Now, if we put our hearts and minds together, it will continue to grow larger and larger and turn into a snowman of peace".

"We hope that President (Moon) could leave a legacy that would last over generations by leading the way in opening a new era of unification", she said.

The players shook hands with South Korean President Moon but Kim did not offer her hand.

A visit by Moon to the North would enable the first summit between leaders from the two Koreas since 2007, and would mark only the third inter-Korean summit to take place.

The move to bring the two nations together for the ice hockey tournament has not been universally popular in the Winter Olympic host nation, while it almost collapsed on the eve of the Games when North Korea threatened to withdraw following comments made by United States Vice-President Mike Pence.

In a rare honour for visiting foreign guests, Moon met Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, four times during the delegation's three-day visit. He insisted on Saturday that the U.S., South Korea and Japan were united in their goal of isolating North Korea over the country's nuclear weapons program.

But Pence was acutely aware that by rebuffing a potential opening with Pyongyang, he was also rebuffing Moon, thereby risking widening the rift in the U.S.

As it turned out, with the two Koreas celebrating a moment of unity, the United States was left outmaneuvered by an adversary and out of step with an ally.

South Korea suggested the formation of a joint team as part of its efforts to use the Games to re-engage with the North and pave the way for talks over the North's weapons program.