Moon holds near 3-hour meeting with N. Korean delegates

People can visit the North Korean submarine that was stranded in South Korean waters in 1996

People can visit the North Korean submarine that was stranded in South Korean waters in 1996JEAN CHUNG GETTY IMAGES

And as Seong-ho returned to South Korea after making a rousing appearance at President Donald Trump's State of the Union address last week, he was met with the father of another victim who suffered at the hands North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The rare meeting began shortly after 11 a.m. and ended at 1:46 p.m., an official from the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said.

A White House official said Pence did not interact with Kim Yo Jong or Kim Yong Nam who were seated a row behind the USA vice president during the opening ceremony.

North and South Koreans marching together under a unified peninsula flag gave Thomas Bach goosebumps, the International Olympic Committee president told Reuters on Saturday.

During the visit, Kim Yo Jong had delivered a letter from her brother asking South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang at his earliest convenience.

Moon, for his part, took the opportunity to highlight the visit of North Korean officials to the global competition, referring to the "Olympic Games of peace".

USA vice-president Mike Pence, who was seated in the same box, did not interact with the North Koreans at any point, United States officials said.

The two will be attending the opening ceremony, where a North Korean delegation will also be present.

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The first liberal president in a decade, Moon during his inauguration speech past year that he would be willing to visit Pyongyang and meet with Kim Jong Un if that helps solve the nuclear problem.

Moon and Kim Yo Jong had their first face-to-face encounter at the opening ceremony.

Saturday's meeting was the first time a South Korean president hosted North Korean officials for a luncheon at the Blue House since November 2007, when late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, the political mentor of Moon, invited then-North Korean premier Kim Yong Il following a meeting with government officials in Seoul. The previous meetings came after rounds of worldwide talks aimed at eliminating the North's nuclear program, which eventually failed. North Korea's goal after the Olympics will be to stop this exercise completely.

Several defectors shared their stories with the vice president, including Ji Seong-ho, who said reading the Bible helped her decide to flee from North Korea in 1998.

Abe also said he would convey to Moon Tokyo's position on a 2015 bilateral agreement on "comfort women" - many Korean - who were forced to work in Japanese military brothels during World War Two, while urging "future-oriented" two-way ties. They may also see a performance by a visiting North Korean art troupe in Seoul on Sunday before flying back to Pyongyang.

"We haven't requested a meeting with North Korea, but if I have any contact with them - in any context - over the next two days, my message will be the same as it was here today: North Korea needs to once and for all abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions", Pence said.

The North has sent almost 500 people to the Pyeongchang Games, including officials, athletes, artists and also a 230-member state-trained cheering group after the Koreas agreed to a series of conciliatory gestures for the games.

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