Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Medical | By Alyssa Little

Combined Korean hockey team loses to Swiss in Olympic debut

Combined Korean hockey team loses to Swiss in Olympic debut

South Korean President Moon Jae-in had "virtually accepted" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to Pyongyang, officials said on Saturday, making way for a first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade.

Her presence overshadowed the nominal head of the delegation, Kim Yong Nam, the aging head of the North Korean Parliament.

But away from the spotlight, these two unwanted guests, men dressed as North Korea supreme leader and the USA president, were escorted away from the premises.

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: The Olympic Cauldron is seen during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

Pence's efforts to keep the spotlight on North Korea's nuclear program and human rights abuses have taken a back seat to the widely viewed images of the two Koreas marching under one flag during Friday night's opening ceremonies - and the invitation of dictator Kim Jong Un for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit the North.

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Sung said all Olympic events were running as scheduled Saturday.

The games are being held about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the border between North and South Korea, countries that technically have been at war since 1950.

An inter-Korean summit would be the third of its kind, after Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il met the South's Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun in 2000 and 2007 respectively, both of them in Pyongyang.

Otto had been in North Korea on an organized tour when he was arrested for allegedly stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel. That led to days of negotiations between the two countries, which in turn secured the north's participation at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The Koreans are rank outsiders in the tournament for which they only qualified by virtue of being the host nation and are likely to suffer defeat against the Swiss.

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The United States and Japan have agreed to continue to put maximum pressure on North Korea in cooperation with the South until Pyongyang takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

Moon's office says Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, came to the South as his special envoy. (During a New Year's Day speech, Kim Jong Un said "North and South must work together to alleviate the tensions and work together as a people of the same heritage to find peace and stability.") Kim added that he wanted North Korean athletes to participate in the Olympics.

Security for anything involving the North Koreans has been exceptionally tight.

The invitation puts Mr Moon in a hard position as he had promised to engage with the North, but his U.S. ally is cautious of Seoul falling for North Korea's charm offensive.

The Trump administration, and successive American administrations before it, has insisted that North Korea must give up its nuclear weapons program if it wants to be treated as part of the worldwide community.

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Abe said, "We confirmed we would further reinforce our cooperation regarding North Korea's [actions of] skirting the sanctions". But it would not be the first time Trump administration officials have sat face-to-face with North Korean diplomats.

Short-track speed skating makes its Pyeongchang debut with South Korea's best hope for a haul of gold medals, Choi Min-jeong, starting her campaign for a 500m qualifiers.

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