North Korea judged victor of diplomatic gold at Olympics

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South Korea and its northern neighbor allied to launch a hopeful message at the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Games 2018 with the two delegations parading together, shortly after their leaders greeted each other in the stands.

But Kim Yo Jong didn't speak or shake hands with US Vice President Mike Pence, who was there with the Second Lady, Karen Pence.

It would be the first summit in more than a decade between Korean leaders.

The gesture sought to further exploit divisions between the US and South Korea, which differ on the best way to rid North Korea of nuclear weapons.

But the Kim impersonator, who goes by the stage name of Howard X, insisted they had not been ejected from the stadium, merely escorted back to their correct seats.

Some set a North Korean flag on fire before police intervened, and others chanted "Let's tear Kim Jong Un to death!" as they ripped up posters bearing his portrait. In pushing for a summit with Moon, Kim is seeking to consolidate those gains while maintaining his nuclear arsenal to deter a United States invasion.

North Korea has also blamed for a series of cyber incidents including the WannaCry global ransomware attack, which infected 300,000 computers worldwide last May.

South Korean figure skating queen Kim Yuna lit the Olympic flame.

Kim's proposal for a summit was "a brilliant diplomatic maneuver", said Andrei Lankov, a historian at Kookmin University in Seoul who once studied in Pyongyang. Moon would irritate Trump if he accepts the invitation, while declining would make the US and South Korea appear "unreasonably bellicose", he said. The North Koreans were in the room at the same time as Pence, an official said. "And this signal helps the opponents of a military operation in Washington and elsewhere".

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Signs of discord in the US-South Korea alliance were evident immediately after the announcement. Moon's office initially provided conflicting accounts of whether he accepted the invitation, with a Blue House spokesperson later clarifying that pre-conditions first needed to be met.

The delegation, the highest-ranking to visit the South, concludes its visit later on Sunday having charmed and intrigued the South Korean public, but still faces deep scepticism over the North's sincerity towards improving relations.

At a Games rife with political overtones, US Vice-President Mike Pence was at the nearby Gangneung Ice Arena as the first North Korean athlete flopped.

North Korea is under a heavy United Nations sanctions regime which was originally targeted at stopping the proliferation of arms and nuclear and missile technologies, but has become more all-encompassing after its accelerated missile testing. Her visit comes one year after the U.S. Treasury Department placed sanctions on Kim for her role in propaganda and "agitation" as part of her family's harsh rule over North Korea, and her government's efforts to develop nuclear weapons.

Moon hosted talks and a lunch with Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of the North Korean leader, at the presidential Blue House in Seoul. We are investigating the cause and checking all systems.

A senior US official said Pence and Moon, while watching speed skating together on Saturday night, discussed intensifying sanctions. After the game, the entire group walked around to the Koreans' bench to greet them and pose for photos. He supported Pence's moves to meet with North Korean defectors, paying respects at a memorial to the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack blamed on the North. Pence also invited as his Olympics guest the father of USA college student Otto Warmbier, who died after he was imprisoned by North Korea for stealing a propaganda poster. That mirrors previous statements from Trump administration officials when asked about the possibility of talks.

U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership traded insults and threats of nuclear war as tensions rose, with Trump repeatedly dismissing the prospect or value of talks with North Korea. Last week, a commentary published by the Korean Central News Agency called denuclearization "a wild dream that can never come true".

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has invited Kim Yo Jong and Kim Yong Nam to a luncheon at Seoul's presidential palace on Saturday in what would be the most significant diplomatic event between the rivals in years.

North Korea conducted its largest nuclear test a year ago and said it had developed a missile capable of carrying a warhead to the United States.

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