South Korea's Moon may be on brink of legacy-defining moment


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited on Saturday South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang "at an early date", announced a spokesman for the Blue House.

Most notably, North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, and Kim Jong-un's sister, Kim Yo-jong, were both in attendance at the Opening Ceremony.

Pence, who was in South Korea for the Olympics, has said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea.

The vice president's visit was also marked by bad blood between Pence and some USA athletes.

The sister of the North Korean leader has arrived in South Korea, dressed in a black coat and absorbing a barrage of camera flashes.

But the Soviet-controlled North and USA -controlled South remained separated, the North declaring itself the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the South calling itself Republic of Korea.

Adam Rippon doesn't want his monthlong dispute with Mike Pence over the US vice president's record on gay rights to overshadow his long-awaited Olympic performance.

It happened during a historic meeting between North and South Korean officials at Seoul's presidential palace.

The North Korean delegation also included the country's 90-year-old nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, who was expected to attend a VIP reception before opening ceremony.

The poor showing didn't stop the sellout crowd from cheering throughout much of the game, the chants led often by North Korea's famous cheering group, and it didn't lessen the import of the event.

"Both Seoul and Pyongyang have talked about their desire for unification but the North's consistent acts of hostility since the 1950s have stated otherwise", Kim Tae-woo said. He was imprisoned as a young man for working to topple South Korea's military rulers and forced into the elite special forces as punishment.

Kim Yo Jong, 28, is the first member of the ruling Kim family bearing the bloodline of the sacred Mount Paektu, a centerpiece of the North's idolization and propaganda campaign, to cross the border into the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.

South Korean presidents Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun went to Pyongyang in 2000 and 2007 respectively to meet the current leader's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il.

As they shook hands, the North and South Koreans spoke briefly.

For all of Vice President Mike Pence's efforts to keep North Korea from stealing the show at the Winter Olympics, the images of the two Koreas marching together - and their officials shaking hands - at a time of heightened tensions on the peninsula proved impossible to counteract. "An early resumption of dialogue between the United States and the North is needed also for the development of the South-North Korean relationship", he said, according to his spokesman.

"But we're gonna make it crystal clear that our military, the Japanese self-defense forces, our allies here in South Korea, all of our allies across the region, are, are fully prepared to defend our nations and to take what is - action is necessary to defend our homeland", he said. North Korea is likely advancing its own strategic interests by playing into Moon's vision of a peaceful Korean Peninsula.

The son of North Korean refugees and a leading advocate of a previous liberal government's "Sunshine Policy" of engagement with the North, Moon has spent his career - a lifetime, really - waiting for this chance.

"I'm a little bit anxious, because North Korea will never give up their intention to overpower South Korea", he said.

It seems likely that those twin possibilities - the political opportunity of a lifetime coupled with intense distrust of North Korean intentions - played in Moon's mind when he raised a toast at a lunch Saturday with Kim Yo Jong.