Kim Jong Un invites South Korean President Moon to Pyongyang

Kim Yo-jong and Mike Pence

Kim Yo-jong and Mike Pence

Park said Saturday that the systems had been "normalized" without giving details. All beamed. As they shook hands, the North and South Koreans spoke briefly.

That seemed unlikely, however, given the tone of Pence's remarks ahead of his arrival in South Korea.

South Korea treated the ferry as an exception to maritime sanctions it imposed on the North so it could transport the artists to the South.

Mr Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, verbally delivered his summit offer during a lunch meeting with Mr Moon at Seoul's presidential palace as the South hosts the Winter Olympics, said Mr Moon's spokesman.

Vice President Mike Pence is cheering on USA speed skaters at the Winter Olympics, before departing South Korea for Washington on Saturday.

Earlier, Moon warmly greeted North Korea's 90-year-old nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam, as they attended the VIP reception.

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Abe is expected to urge Moon to steadily implement the deal, arguing Japan has been carrying out its promises, Japanese government officials said.

He has accused Pyongyang of using the event for its own ends.

Moon has long argued for engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table over its nuclear ambitions.

Other members of the North Korean delegation present at Saturday's meeting included Ri Son Gwon - who led the first sit-down talks at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) earlier this year, and Choe Hwi.

Some South Koreans have labelled the Games the "Pyongyang Olympics" in protest against the North's involvement, which will include fielding a joint North-South Korean women's ice hockey team. But privately, officials said, Pence expressed concern to Moon about his more conciliatory tone toward North Korea. South Korea had to seek a special United Nations exemption for Choe to spend three days in the South. Choe and Kim Yo Jong also are under direct American sanctions for human-rights abuses related to their roles in censoring information in North Korea.

To achieve this, he'll obviously have to walk a precarious diplomatic tightrope between his ally, the U.S. and his old enemy, North Korea.

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The two Koreas technically remain at war, as the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

Sources told CNN that the sending of ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam and Kim's sibling Kim Yo Jong reads as more of a symbolic act than any concrete diplomatic initiative by North Korea.

After years of frustration, billions of dollars and a nagging national debate about their worth, the opening ceremonies took place before a world watching the moment not only for its athletic significance and global spectacle, but for clues about what the political future of the peninsula could hold.

"There are many people in Abe's ruling Liberal Democratic Party who have been quite vocal in their opposition to him going to South Korea next week", Shimada said.

Next to the North Korean diplomat was the sister of the country's supreme leader, Kim Yo Jon.

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