Skeptics say North Korea, which is unlikely to give up its nukes under any deal, is just using the Olympics to poke holes at the USA -led global sanctions against the country and buy more time to further advance its strategic weaponry.
Pence stood to welcome the USA athletes as the Korean pop hit Gangnam Style blared around the stadium, sparking the "Horse Dance" in the crowd and among the volunteers.
Eager to put a reality check on the thaw in relations between the Koreas in advance of the Games, Pence met with North Korean defectors Friday and paid respects at the Cheonan Memorial in Pyeongtaek, which honors the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack blamed on the North.
Mr Pence warned that the world would see "a charm offensive by North Korea" on Friday, "but today we thought it was important to make sure the truth is told". The North Koreans were in the room at the same time as Pence, an official said.
As North Korea takes the stage with the opening of the Pyeongchang Olympics, its sudden shift from menacing hermit to engaging debutante is attributed to Kim Jong-un's baby sister Kim Yo-jong, who is said to be the mastermind behind a rebranding campaign that includes her brother befriending Dennis Rodman, staging photo ops at amusement parks and possibly even accepting South Korea's invitation to the Olympics.
The Opening Ceremony is one of the coolest and most exciting parts of each Olympic Games, as each nation's athletes are introduced and the culture of the host nation is illustrated through several special performances.
A White House official says U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un were seated just feet apart during Friday's Olympic opening ceremony, but they did not interact.
There's a possibility that they would attend the debut of the first-ever inter-Korean Olympic team at the women's ice hockey tournament on Saturday, hours after their meeting with Moon.
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Tickets for 2018 are available at the Box Office, via Ticketmaster.nl, and through all outlets. Indeed, that first victory came at the expense of his current coach, Ivan Ljubicic.
As he met with Pence on Thursday, Moon added his hope that it becomes "a venue that leads to dialogue for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". He is the father of an American college student who was imprisoned in North Korea for attempting to steal a propaganda banner.
He also ratcheted up his rhetoric on the North's human rights abuses in a speech to US service members at Yokota Air Base in Japan.
South Korea treated the ferry as an exception to maritime sanctions it imposed on the North so it could transport the artists to the South. USA officials have grown increasingly dire in their warnings about the North's march toward developing an operational nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental U.S.
Mr Pence has repeatedly left open the possibility of an encounter at the Games, but said the USA had not requested a meeting.
But Kim Yo-jong stands out among them as a notably stark contrast to the typical North Korean official.
Moon has been trying to use the games as an opportunity to revive meaningful communication with North Korea after a period of diplomatic stalemate and eventually pull it into talks over resolving the worldwide standoff over its nuclear program.
In the group was Kim Yong Nam, a ceremonial head of North Korea's government, and Kim Yo Jong, the first immediate member of the dynastic Kim family to set foot in South Korea since the Korean war, which ended in an armistice in 1953.