'Too Soon' To Tell If Korean Olympic Thaw Will Last: Jim Mattis

US Olympic luge veteran Erin Hamlin carries the US flag at the 2018 opening

US Olympic luge veteran Erin Hamlin carries the US flag at the 2018 opening

Watching inside the Olympic stadium was a crowd of more than 30,000 - including South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who shook hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong.

Outside the stadium ahead of the unified Korea Ice Hockey team's first official match of the Olympics, young and old waved the flag as well.

A senior USA administration official told reporters that Pence did not discuss North Korea's invitation to Moon when the two leaders watched short track speed skating together.

Vice President Mike Pence did not deliberately snub North Koreans at an Olympic reception, according to United States officials who pushed back on South Korean reports that Pence deliberately came late to a VIP gathering Friday evening and then snubbed officials from Pyongyang.

Kim Yo-jong, the influential sister of North Korea leader Kim Jong-un, was sat one row behind U.S. vice-president Mike Pence in the VIP section. The two Koreas also chose to use the unified flag and a Korean folk song, "Arirang", instead of the South's flag or anthem.

But US has distanced itself from the North Korean overtures.

An athlete from team USA points during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics Clive Mason  Pool
An athlete from team USA points during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics Clive Mason Pool

At a Friday VIP reception for delegation leaders, Pence arrived late and stayed for just five minutes - and did not interact with the delegation from the North. Moon has been pushing for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

Kim Yo Jong is probably Kim's closest confidant and is a senior cadre in North Korea's ruling party.

"There are some who would not want to be in the same room together if it wasn't for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics".

The Winter Olympics has thrust Kim Yo-jong into the spotlight.

The issues came as a surprise as South Korea is considered one of the most technologically-advanced countries in the world.

The day before the opening ceremony, Kim Jong Un staged a massive military parade with trucks carrying missiles that could be capable of striking the United States mainland. Landing without a valid visa, he was interrogated for five hours by North Korean customs officials and fined $500.

Ties with United States at risk of breaking down: Turkey
The military also said the "utmost care" is being used to avoid harming civilians. Cavusoglu demanded concrete steps from the USA , rather than promises.

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