Pence: 'No daylight' between U.S., allies on North Korea


South Korean president Moon Jae-in has met North Korean officials, including Kim Jong-un's sister, over lunch at Seoul's presidential palace, a historic event that is the highest level contact between the two nations in more than a decade.

That part is yet to be determined, as politicians, analysts and curious citizens debate whether the North Koreans' amicable presence at these Olympics is legitimate or simply the latest version of a "charm offensive" from the dictatorship, a calculated move created to engender global support and separate South Korea from its alliance with the United States.

According to the Blue House, Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon "in the near future" and would like for him to visit North Korea "at his earliest convenience", his sister told Moon.

Moon joined Kim Yo Jong and other North Korean supporters Saturday in cheering for the team against Switzerland.

Speaking to the Washington Post's Josh Rogin aboard Air Force Two on his flight home, Pence said the USA would participate in direct talks with North Korea's leadership without preconditions - something experts have long urged the administration to do.

Mattis' remarks come after South Korean President Moon Jae-in was presented a formal invitation to visit North Korea, potentially setting up the first meeting of Korean leaders since 2007.

And Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency focused on the team and the North Korean cheerleaders rather than the 8-0 defeat - mentioning neither the outcome nor the score in its despatch.

Vice President Mike Pence is in Seoul, where he was reported to have described Kim's regime as "the most tyrannical" on earth.

"The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearisation", Pence was quoted on Sunday as saying. He made it clear from the start that he came to the Games with a message of "maximum pressure" on Pyongyang.

"We don't want to speculate because we're still trying to find out what the root source is", said Nancy Park, a spokeswoman for the Games organisers.

"Moon should be aware that he has to urge denuclearisation to North Korea by himself, not depending on dialogue between the USA and North Korea", an editorial in the Yomiuri Newspaper read.

Her presence in the Olympics Stadium in Pyeongchang is the first time that a member of her family have visited South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Moon warmly shook hands with her and later held talks with her in Seoul.

On the other, the president of South Korea sat with Kim's sister and North Korea's nominal head of state, separated only by IOC President Thomas Bach.

Moon replied: "Our meeting was precious".

Apart from their official activities, it is unlikely the women will have much interaction with South Koreans or freedom to explore their surroundings. North Korea has said that its nuclear weapons are not for bargaining away. They told their concerned friends and relatives that the Olympics is probably the most policed place in the world and they expected they would be safer there than they ever had been.

The women, wearing red coats with black fur collars and matching fur hats, received a celebrity welcome as they streamed off their buses and disappeared into their hotel at a South Korean race track resort. One mother told her daughter she would kidnap her to keep her off the plane.

The letter delivered by "Special envoy Kim Yo-jong" stated her brother's "wish to improve inter-Korean relations", Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.