South Korea's Moon hosts North Korean talks as Pence keeps up pressure

US Vice President Mike Pence met with North Korean defectors and visited a memorial for South Korean sailors killed in a North Korean torpedo attack on Friday in an apparent move to highlight his country's tough stance on the reclusive regime.

Pence, who will lead the USA delegation to the games' opening ceremonies today, met Thursday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to press for a more clear-eyed approach toward the nuclear-armed neighbor to the north. Moon has looked at the games as an opportunity to pursue a diplomatic opening with North Korea - a move the vice president cautioned against.

A visit by Moon to the North would enable the first summit between leaders from the two Koreas since 2007.

A North Korean escapee, Lee Hyeon-seo, said in English that "the media is focusing on the Olympics, but they should be focusing on the people of North Korea, who are now struggling to survive the harsh winter".

Vice-president Pence recently states that Moon Jae-In, the president of South Korea gave a nod to additional sanctions planned by Washington in a bid to bring Kim to the negotiating table and make him abandon his ballistic nuclear weapons program. We rode a bus deep into the demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea.

Moon's office said he told Abe that the talks between the Koreas would not disrupt global efforts to deal with North Korea's nuclear program.

As for sharing Moon's box with the North Koreans, the officials said they knew in advance who was going to be in Moon's box to watch the opening ceremony.

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Moon, on the other hand, has repeatedly stressed the need to keep the inter-Korean dialogue moving forward, so they may lead to a resumption of global negotiations on ending the North's nuclear ambitions.

"It is absolutely necessary for the North and the United States to engage in talks at an early date", he cited Moon as saying.

Saturday's meeting also involved two other high-level delegates - Choe Hwi, the chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son-gwon, the head of the North's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

Mr Moon took a commemorative photo with the North Korean guests prior to their talks.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power a year ago on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North.

Kim Yo Jong arrived in South Korea on Friday with Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state, for the opening ceremony in the alpine town of Pyeongchang.Pence also attended the Games opening ceremony but had no contact with the North Korean delegation.

She smiled brightly as she was greeted by South Korean officials led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon at a meeting room at Incheon International Airport.

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