Abe & Moon vow joint efforts over N. Korea, future ties

Abe & Moon vow joint efforts over N. Korea, future ties

More than 2,900 athletes from 92 countries will compete here, making it the biggest Winter Olympics to date. Then the air was filled with a well-known ballad of sorrow and separation.

Abe said the time after the Olympics will be crucial and emphasized the importance of the North showing its commitment to denuclearization. Kim Jong Il's sushi chef, Kenji Fujimoto, nicknamed them North Korea's "Prince" and "Princess" due to their upbringing and closeness to the former North Korean leader.

Yet obstacles were evident even amid the outreach.

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in South Korea, looking to push the USA ally to adopt a more hawkish stance toward North Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics.

But the military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday added to critics' doubts in the South over the sudden rapprochement, which follows a series of weapons tests.

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.

The combined teams - dressed in white and introduced simply as "Korea" - entered the stadium under the blue-and-white "unification flag", which shows the peninsula as one.

First rule: in the presence of guests, do not refer to their leader, Kim Jong Un, by name, or certainly do not mention his nuclear and missile programmes.

Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly, and his delegation held a brief meeting with Moon when attending the ceremony, the report said.

The spokesman says Moon replied that the North and South should continue to work to build conditions so that a summit can take place. His office said he did not interact with the North Koreans. President Moon met with his Japanese counterpart, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday afternoon.

Meanwhile South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, has shaken hands with North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un's sister, at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony. President Moon in return asserted that the agreement cannot be accepted by either the victims themselves or the Korean people; he had said late past year that the agreement was fundamentally flawed.

Pence is set to meet with President Moon Jae-in to advocate a clear-eyed approach toward his bellicose, nuclear-armed neighbor.

The significance of Pence and the North Koreans sitting in the same box was not immediately clear, though it seemed to run counter to the mission he was supposed to undertake. He suggested they should not be blinded by Pyongyang's charm offensive.

Moon has looked to the game as an opportunity to pursue a diplomatic opening with the North — a move Pence will seek to caution against.