The Latest: Pence, Moon Speak While Watching Speedskating

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, front left, first lady Kim Jung-sook, second lady Karen Pence and United States Vice President Mike Pence observe with Kim Yong Nam, the 90-year-old president of the Presidium of the North's Parliament, back left, and Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018.

By Published on February 10, 2018

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on a high-level North Korean delegation visiting South Korea for the Olympics (all times local):

8:40 p.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are speaking while watching Olympic speedskaters compete, hours after Moon received a historic invitation to visit North Korea.

Aides did not immediately say whether the invitation was discussed as the two sat next to each other viewing several race heats Saturday.

They were seated not far from a section of North Korean cheerleaders who are attending the Olympics in a sign of warming ties between the two Koreas that Pence and other U.S. officials have warned against.

Moon and Kim Yong Nam, the North’s ceremonial head of state, will jointly attend the unified Korean women’s ice hockey team’s first match later Saturday evening.

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7:40 p.m.

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

Pence is viewing the short-track competition, in which eight Americans are participating.

It’s the final stop on a six-day trip that Pence had hoped would increase pressure on North Korea as it seeks to use the games to pursue an opening with the South.

Pence’s efforts to keep the spotlight on North Korea’s nuclear program and human rights abuses have taken a back seat to the widely viewed images of the two Koreas marching under one flag during Friday night’s opening ceremonies — and the invitation of dictator Kim Jong Un for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit the North.

 

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6:55 p.m.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is not directly addressing news that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a visit, as the two Koreas use the Olympics as an opportunity for renewing ties.

“The vice president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions,” Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said when asked about the developments.

Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, verbally delivered the invite to Moon on Saturday.

Pence has meant to use his trip to the Olympics to caution the South against “falling for” the North’s overtures, which in the past have been used as stall tactics to allow for continued development of its nuclear program.

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3:45 p.m.

South Korea says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in for a summit meeting in the North.

Moon’s spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said Saturday Kim’s sister verbally delivered his offer in a lunch meeting with Moon at Seoul’s presidential palace.

The spokesman says Moon replied that the North and South should continue to work to build conditions so that a summit can take place.

The spokesman says Moon also called for a quick resumption of dialogue between the United States and North Korea.

Moon’s office says Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, came to the South as his special envoy.

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2:10 p.m.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office says his lunch meeting with senior North Korean officials including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister has ended.

The discussions from Saturday’s meeting weren’t immediately released.

Kim Yo Jong and other North Korean delegates, including the country’s 90-year-old nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, arrived in the South on Friday on Kim Jong Un’s private jet and attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Moon’s office says the North Korean delegates were served traditional food from the Gangwon province, a mountainous coastal area that’s home to the Olympic towns of Pyeongchang and Gangneung.

The officials toasted with the Korean liquor “soju” and were served buckwheat and potato pancakes, dried pollock soup, grilled halibut and other dishes. They were also served North Korean-style fermented fish and white “kimchi” or fermented cabbage.

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This item corrects that Kim Yo Jong is the leader’s sister.

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11:35 a.m.

South Korean television is showing a smiling President Moon Jae-in entering a reception room and shaking hands with North Korean delegates, including leader Kim Jong Un’s sister.

The rare meeting at the Blue House in Seoul on Saturday comes after Kim Yo Jong and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics where they took their place among dignitaries from around the world, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

The luncheon also includes Choe Hwi, chairman of the North’s National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.

Moon is joined by his national security director, intelligence chief, chief of staff and the unification minister.

It’s unclear whether the occasion could be used to set up bigger meetings between the Koreas to ease tensions. The Koreas could potentially talk about a South Korean special envoy meeting Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang or even a summit between Moon and Kim.

 

Copyright 2018 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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