Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Life&Culture | By Ben Goodman

With extraordinary political theater, Winter Olympics begin

With extraordinary political theater, Winter Olympics begin

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to attend an inter-Korean summit in the North, a presidential spokesman revealed Saturday morning, according to the Associated Press.

North Korea had sent its own delegation to the Olympic Games that included Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong, the first member of the of the Kim family to visit the South since the 1950 - 1953 Korean War.

Pence said Friday the US would oppose talks between the two Koreas until the North agreed to open negotiations on ending its nuclear program.

Mr. Kim relayed the invitation through his only sister and trusted adviser, Kim Yo-jong, who met with Mr. Moon at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Saturday, in the highest-level contact between the two Koreas in years.

The two Korean nations marched together during the opening ceremony of the Olympics on Friday under a banner showing a united Korean peninsula, a banner that has been flown few times before.

"There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear ballistic missile program", Pence said, adding that he was "encouraged" by his talks with the South Korean President. They were stopped and most were killed near the palace, which was newly rebuilt in 1991.

There's worry too that the proposed summit Pyongyang may come with preconditions - a North Korean specialty.

Pyeongchang Olympics organisers were looking into a disruption of non-critical systems on the day of the opening ceremony but could not yet confirm if it was a cyberattack, Games spokesman Sung Baik-you said on Saturday. Warming ties between the Koreas could complicate Seoul's ties with Washington, which wants to maximize its pressures on Pyongyang. Analysts were expecting the sister to deliver a message to Moon, as any move toward a summit is likely to help maintain a temporary break in tensions on the peninsula after a year of missile and nuclear provocations.

The North and South held summits in Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007, both hosted by late Kim Jong Il, the father of Kim Jong Un.

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The coaching staff shows the same diversity: the head coach, Murray, is Canadian; her three assistant coaches are South Korea's Kim Doyun; North Korea's Pak Chol Ho; and American Rebecca Baker. They were also served North Korean-style fermented fish and white "kimchi" or fermented cabbage.

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

The men, who were impersonating Trump and Kim Jong-un attended the opening ceremony.

However, the result mattered less than the political symbolism as around 200 of North Korea's famed "army of beauties" charmed a crowd of 3,600 besotted locals with nostalgic oldies - and even broke out a Mexican wave.

He'll reportedly be sitting with Kim Yong Nam, the ceremonial head of North Korea's government at the Kwandong Hockey Centre.

North Korean cheerleaders perform their routine in support of the joint Korean women's hockey team, during a game against Switzerland during their Group B contest of the women's hockey tournament at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, at Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung, Gangwon Province, on February 10, 2018.

The North has sent almost 500 people to the Pyeongchang Games including officials, athletes, artists and cheerleaders after the Koreas agreed to a series of conciliatory gestures to mark the Games.

"A strike also would not stem the threat of proliferation but rather exacerbate it, turning what might be a North Korean moneymaking endeavour into a vengeful effort meant to equip other bad actors against us".

An early shot by North Korea's Han Soojin might have made a statement, if not altered the outcome.

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