Pence wrapping up Olympic visit to South Korea

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Pence, meanwhile, had only one event on his schedule on Saturday: he appeared back at Pyeongchang to view the short-track speedskating event, along with second lady Karen Pence and the USA delegation.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) shakes hands with Kim Yo-Jong (C), North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's sister on February 11, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea.

"North Korea clearly appears to be winning the gold", said Kim Sung-han, who served as Korea's vice foreign minister in 2012-2013 and who now teaches at Seoul's Korea University.

They capped their final day in South Korea by joining Moon at a Seoul concert given by a visiting North Korean art troupe led by the head of the immensely popular Moranbong band, whose young female members are hand-picked by Kim Jong Un. "Even for a moment, it appears to be a normal state".

The delegation of 22 officials from the North arrived on Friday in order to attend the opening ceremony for the Winter Olympics.

Kim Yo-jong carried a bright blue folder as she entered the conference room at the Blue House, Seoul's presidential office, and some analysts speculated it could contain a letter from her brother. On the flight home from his Asian-Pacific trip flying somewhere over South Korea, Pence told reporters aboard Air Force Two that he appreciated Moon's transparency and perspective on North Korea, but reiterated that the USA and South Korea will "continue to stand strong and to work in a coordinated way to bring maximum economic and diplomatic pressure on North Korea".

But he said it would be hard for Moon to keep up the momentum after conservatives at home and allies overseas remind him of what is at stake in the North Korean nuclear threat. "Moon should be aware that he has to urge denuclearisation to North Korea by himself, not depending on dialogue between the US and North Korea", an editorial in the Yomiuri Newspaper read.

After meeting with Moon, the North Korean delegates boarded a bullet train to Gangneung, a coastal city hosting some Olympic events.

"Now is not the time to postpone U.S".

South Korean moguls skier Choi Jae-woo competes in the first qualification round at Phoenix Snow Park in PyeongChang the host city of the Winter Olympics on Feb. 9 2018

According to the Blue House, Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon "in the near future" and would like him to visit North Korea "at his earliest convenience", his sister told Moon. Reviving inter-Korean dialogue is critical for the policies of Moon, who insists that Seoul should be in control in worldwide efforts to deal with the North Korean nuclear issue.

"For Japan it's a nightmare scenario", said Takashi Kawakami, a professor of worldwide politics at Takushoku University in Tokyo.

Past "charm offensives" have been interpreted as North Korea trying to recoup from crippling sanctions on their nuclear program, or trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its USA ally.

Days later, TV news shows in South Korea are still repeatedly airing footage of Kim walking with President Moon Jae-in, often with a placid smile on her face.

"The point is, no pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization", the Post quoted Pence as saying. "But if you want to talk, we'll talk".

But analysts say it may be more hard for the South to arrange a summit with the North coming off a year in which Pyongyang test-fired dozens of missiles, including three ICBMs, and conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date. 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's worry, too, that the proposed summit in Pyongyang may come with preconditions - a North Korean specialty.

Fuel prices have risen and more wood-fired Soviet-era trucks have been seen on the outskirts of the capital, said the resident, speaking on condition of anonymity. The riverside facility is named after late U.S. Army commander Walton Walker, who's considered a war hero in the South for his battles against the North during the Korean War.

North Korea agreed to participate in Pyeongchang after Games host South Korea and the International Olympic Committee encouraged the reclusive, heavily sanctioned state to participate as a gesture of peace. The North then dropped its request after it asked for more fuel than Seoul was willing to provide, a Seoul official added.

And at the Olympics itself, the North and South are competing as a unified "All Korean" team - marching under one flag at the Opening Ceremony and playing together at the ice hockey tournament.

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