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Two Koreas hold top-level talks in Olympic rapprochement

AFP  |  Seoul 

South Korea's held landmark talks with the North's of state and the sister of its leader today, even as the US warned against falling for Pyongyang's Olympic charm offensive.

Moon hosted the elderly -- technically the highest-level ever to go to the South -- and Pyongyang's star at the presidential

Smiling, he shook hands with each of the delegates ahead of their talks, and television footage showed that -- who analysts expected to bring a personal message from her brother -- was carrying a blue folder emblazoned with a seal.

There is speculation could invite Moon to visit later this year.

The nuclear-armed North's delegation is the diplomatic highlight of an Olympics-driven rapprochement on the divided peninsula.

Tensions between the two soared last year as tested missiles capable of reaching the US mainland and its most powerful to date, while and US traded personal insults and threats of war.

The North is subject to multiple rounds of UN Security Council sanctions over its banned weapons programmes. Analysts believe its diplomacy is seeking to weaken the measures against it, and could be trying to loosen the alliance between and

Moon shook hands with both and at the opening ceremony on Friday, and they cheered as athletes from entered the arena together behind a unification flag showing an unbroken Korean peninsula.

US Vice Mike Pence, who was seated in the same box, did not interact with the North Koreans at any point, US officials said.

He also did not shake hands with while making a brief appearance at a leaders' reception ahead of the ceremony -- although Japanese Shinzo Abe, whose country is also regularly threatened by Pyongyang, did so, while exchanging pleasantries with the North Korean.

"We are determined to make sure that even in the midst of the powerful background & idealism of the Olympics, is reminded of the truth about North Korea," Pence tweeted on Friday.

He also reiterated the Trump administration's stance that the US would take whatever "action is necessary to defend our homeland", including military operations, as it seeks to denuclearise the North.

"We're going to continue to put all the pressure to bear economically and diplomatically, while preserving all of our military options to see that that happens," Pence told

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sat, February 10 2018. 10:00 IST