North Korea art troupe performs song on isle row with Japan

Unbelievable as it sounds, the leaders of both North and South Korea are working together like teammates - despite the fact that America and other nations fought to save the South from being overrun by the North after regime founder Kim Il Sung invaded the South in June 1950.

Vice President Mike Pence, who will head the USA delegation at Friday's opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, will also be competing in a hard new event not on any Olympic program.

Providing fuel to the ferry would have been a hard decision for Seoul because of concerns that North Korea is trying to use the Olympics to poke holes in global sanctions against the country over its nuclear and missile programs.

A North Korean art troupe on Thursday night performed a song partly tweaked to assert a claim over a pair of islets at the center of a territorial spat between Japan and South Korea.

Pence rode to the reception with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and the two held a private conversation while waiting more than 10 minutes for a photo opportunity with Moon.

It is believed to be North Korea's ploy to capitalize on the territorial dispute between the South and Japan to urge solidarity between the two Koreas.

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Pence has not ruled out the prospect of meeting North Korean officials during the Olympics but President Trump has cast doubt on USA negotiations with Pyongyang any time soon.

Speaking in Tokyo on his way to South Korea, which is hosting the Games over the next three weeks, Pence said he would soon announce the stepped-up sanctions in an effort to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear and missile programmes.

Abe also said he will tell Moon of Japan's stance on the lingering issue of "comfort women" forced to work in Japan's wartime military brothels following South Korea's recent policy shift over a 2015 bilateral agreement to settle the feud "finally and irreversibly".

Abe, who cited the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics that Japan will host as one of the reasons for his Pyeongchang visit, will encourage Japanese athletes on Saturday before returning home. The North Korean delegation that arrived in the South on leader Kim Jong Un's private jet also includes his sister Kim Yo Jong. Reviving inter-Korean talks is key to the polices of Moon, who says South Korea should be in the driver's seat in global efforts to deal with the North's nuclear threat.

On Tuesday, a ferry carrying a North Korean orchestra arrived for the Games.

The group included a 229-member cheer squad as well as taekwondo performers, journalists and four North Korean Olympics committee members, including the sports minister.

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