North Korea's political princess heading home after whirlwind visit

North Korea judged winner of diplomatic gold at Olympics

It was the US that appeared to be the one left in the cold, especially after the sister of the North Korean dictator extended an invitation from her brother for Moon to visit the North.

The night before, Kim Yo Jong and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, watching a "unified" Korean team march under a banner showing an undivided Korean Peninsula.

"Kim Jong Un is clearly serious about reviving talks with the South to improve relations", said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korean expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to Moon.

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un; U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach were among the powerful political and sports figures who attended the extravaganza on a chilly night.

She was accompanied by other high-ranking members of the North Korean delegation.

During the bilateral talks over lunch, neither side made mention of Pyongyang's nuclear issue, which is attracting global attention as a major security concern and has heightened tensions, a presidential office source said.

But the United States vice president did not shake hands with Kim Yong Nam while making a brief appearance at a leaders' reception ahead of the ceremony - although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe did so.

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly who was leading the delegation, expressed his confidence that with courage and decisiveness, the two sides can overcome "unimaginable difficulties" to realize reunification, the report said.

Douglas Paal, a former senior USA diplomat under previous Republican administrations, said North Korea held the propaganda edge for now because, "It's tough not to get caught up in the emotions of an Olympics event".

To pave the way for the North's participation at Pyeongchang, South Korea had delayed the annual exercises with US forces, which usually take place between February and March, until after the Olympics.

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At an Olympic dinner reception created to break the ice between two nations still technically at war, the dessert said it all. The invitation was delivered in a meeting between Moon and the North Korean leader's sister, Yo-jong.

Such a summit, if it came about, would mark the first time that leaders of the two Koreas have met since 2007.

Pence said Friday that the US would oppose talks between the two Koreas until the North agreed to open negotiations on ending its nuclear program, and he was silent Saturday on the news of the invitation.

With a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea's presidential guest book, Kim Yo Jong has struck a chord with the public just one day into the PyeongChang Games.

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.

"I never thought I would visit (the South) so suddenly and believed much would be odd and different but I saw many things that were similar or the same", said Kim Yo Jong in a toast during Sunday's dinner, adding she hoped to meet the "friendly faces" before her later in Pyongyang.

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games that began on Friday, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programs a year ago and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington. But he said it would be harder for Moon to keep up momentum after USA and Japanese allies and South Korean conservatives remind him of what is at stake in the North Korean nuclear threat. They were also served North Korean-style fermented fish and white "kimchi" or fermented cabbage.

Washington has pursued a strategy of exerting maximum pressure on Pyongyang through tough sanctions and harsh rhetoric, demanding it give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons first for any dialogue to occur.

Signs of discord in the U.S.

"The North Koreans can turn around and say, 'Well, we offered a summit and you stood in the way by being inflexible, ' " said Oba. -South Korea military exercises.

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