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US, S Korea united as inter-Korea talks occur: Pence

AFP  |  Washington 

The US and South stand united against North Korea's nuclear program, even as the two Koreas hold talks in conjunction with the Winter Olympics, US Vice has said.

Analysts say the North's Olympic diplomatic drive seeks to loosen international sanctions against it and undermine the alliance between and

Pence, speaking to reporters aboard Air Force Two after attending the opening ceremony of the Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, said that he and Moon Jae-in "continue to stand strong" and coordinate efforts against the North.

"There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of and on the need to continue to isolate North economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program," Pence said as he flew back to the

calls it a campaign of "maximum pressure."

Global alarm at the rapid advance of nuclear-armed North Korea's rose further last year when the regime tested its Hwasong-15 ballistic missile theoretically capable of hitting the mainland US, in a challenge to that has threatened to "utterly destroy" the regime in the event of an attack.

and the North's have engaged in a series of personal insults.

But as tensions rose between the North and Washington, the Games triggered a rapid reconciliation between the two Koreas, who are still technically at war.

Moon was invited to a summit with Kim, even as the US warned against falling for Pyongyang's Olympic charm offensive.

The invitation was issued through Kim's sister, Jong, who was attending the Games with the North's ceremonial

Pence did not interact with the North Koreans even though he was seated in the same box as them at Friday's opening ceremony.

Neither did Pence shake hands with while making a brief appearance at a leaders' reception ahead of the ceremony -- although Japanese did so.

Moon did not respond directly to the invitation from Kim Jong Un, and urged to actively seek an "absolutely necessary" dialogue with Washington, Moon's said.

Washington insists that -- which is under multiple sets of Security Council sanctions -- must take concrete steps toward denuclearization before any negotiations can take place.

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

Although inter-Korean talks are occurring on the sidelines of the Olympics, Pence is confident that and "are solidly with our alliance and the need to continue and intensify economic sanctions," the said.

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

First Published: Sun, February 11 2018. 05:20 IST