South Korean President Moon Jae In had "virtually accepted" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to Pyongyang, officials said on Saturday (Feb 10), making way for a first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.
President Moon supports more engagement with North Korea and held three hours of talks over lunch on Friday in the presidential palace with Kim Yo-jong and Kim Yong-nam, who is technically North Korea's head of state.
The troupe, cheered by dozens of fans as their bus pulled up under tight security before the game, have been dispatched south as part of a North Korean charm offensive after months of fiery rhetoric threatening nuclear war and provocative missile tests.
But Moon has maintained that any talks with North Korea should be focused on brokering peace between the two nations, and that South Korea would not meet the north without its assurances of working to deescalate the nuclear tensions on the peninsula.
The North Korean delegation arrived in the South on Kim's private plane on Friday via Incheon global airport to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyongchang Winter Olympics where Seoul and Pyongyang are represented by joint teams.
But Moon, a liberal who has always wanted to engage the North, will also have to convince a good portion of his own people who are deeply wary about North Korean intentions. Washington, which has struck a hard line against the North's nuclear weapon program, had no immediate reaction to the overture. "It's not unfamiliar", Kim said when asked by one of the South Koreans at the dinner how she feels on the other side of the border.
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Though South Korea is hosting the Winter Olympic Games for the first time, the nation has some experience in the world of worldwide athletics, having hosted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul. Later, he skipped a formal dinner at which he was due to share a table with North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam.
Pyongyang has ruled out a meeting with the United States delegation during the Winter Games.
It is rare for the North's official media to refer to the South's leader as president, usually describing them as chief executive or similar, and even more unusual for a picture of them to be shown. His office said he did not interact with the North Koreans.
The Pences did not stand for the unified Korean team's entrance.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe briefly met with North Korea's second-highest-ranking official on Friday, during their visit to Pyeongchang to attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, Japanese government sources said. The ongoing rapprochement mood flared after Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's Day address that he was willing to send an Olympic delegation.
Earlier, APP reported that Pakistan's four-member national ski squad reached Seoul, South Korea to participate in Winter Olympics 2018. "The world cannot turn a blind eye to the oppression & threats of the Kim regime".