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11 Febrero 2018, 11:05 | Crisanna Felipe
South Korean President Moon Jae-in met today with senior North Korean officials, including leader Kim Jong Un's sister, over lunch at Seoul's presidential palace in the most significant diplomatic encounter between the rivals in years.
But privately, officials said Pence expressed concern to Moon about his more conciliatory tone toward North Korea.
South Korea's former leader Kim Dae-jung, who won a Nobel Prize for what was dubbed a "sunshine policy" with the North, held the first summit with Kim Jong Il in 2000 in Pyongyang.
Welcoming Pence to the presidential Blue House, Moon took the opportunity to highlight the visit of the North Korean officials to the games, calling them "Olympic Games of peace".
The countries are still technically at war since a 1953 armistice, though they have resumed talks after a year-long standoff between North Korea and the United States in which an exchange of threats between the heads of state elevated tensions and prompted the North's continued missile and nuclear tests.
In a letter to the head of Iranian convoy to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games, the committee officially apologized over the move. During the parade of nations, they stood only for the US team.
North Korea has a track record of dangling peace to wrangle concessions and aid from the West only to renege on its promises.
Her position is such that, according to a Seoul-based think tank run by North Korean defectors, Kim briefly took charge of the country while her brother was reportedly ill with gout or diabetes in late 2014.
Pence told reporters that despite disagreements over how to approach North Korea, the state of the alliance between the US and South Korea is "strong". "And I just feel so much love and warmth for you all".
US Ambassador Nikki Haley has dismissed North Korea's decision to attend the Olympics as a "distraction", and Vice President Mike Pence skipped the dinner on Friday.
On his flight to Alaska on Saturday, the vice president said he left Asia "encouraged that we will continue to work very closely to continue and intensify the maximum pressure campaign" against North Korea.
Instead, they said, Kim simply wasn't seated in the area where Pence was receiving well-wishers.
South Korea says the artists will return to the North on Tuesday by a land route.
A spokesperson for the vice president said that Pence did not come across the North Korean delegation during the reception.
In any event, neither Ms Kim nor Kim Yong-nam, 90, the president of North Korea's Supreme People's Assembly, who accompanied her to the Games, made an approach toward Mr Pence.
The North Korean artists performed Thursday in Gangneung, a coastal city that will host the skating, hockey and curling events during the games, and are to perform again in Seoul.
At Friday's opening ceremony, for example, Moon shook hands with Jong, as Pence, sitting merely feet away, looked stone faced, never acknowledging the North Korean delegation.
But the member of North Korean royalty's soft smile, accepting the gesture beneath the strobing lights of the 35,000-seat, pentagonal stadium in Dagwallyeong-myeon, is a moment of shared understanding.
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