Vice President Pence Says US Open To Talks With North Korea

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The home crowd - seated among them the North Korean cheerleaders - roared their players as they skated onto the ice in their blue-and-red jerseys, "KOREA" emblazoned over a pale blue silhouette of the peninsula.

"In the midst of all of this, he (North Korean leader Kim Jong Un) ran a military parade that highlighted his ballistic missiles", Mattis told reporters on his plane en route to Rome on the first leg of a European tour.

Crowds applauded as she stood for the South Korean anthem during the opening ceremony for the start of the Winter Olympic Games, while her big smiles and relaxed manner left a largely positive impression on the South Korean public.

The IOC and the two Koreas signed a tripartite agreement on January 20 in Lausanne that set out the details of North Korea's Olympic participation, including the number of athletes, the sports they would take part in as well as their joint march. While the U.S shows new openness to engaging with the regime, the administration has not changed its course of keeping the pressure on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

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Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power past year on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North and has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile program.

Kim Jong-un's invitation to Moon raises prospects for the first inter-Korean summit in more than 10 years.

A diplomatic source said Monday that the US has accumulated considerable data on illicit ship-to-ship transfers between North Korean ships and foreign vessels on the high seas through satellite tracking and information sharing.

Comments by US Vice President Mike Pence suggest the United States may be looking more favourably at diplomatic engagement with North Korea as South Korea considers a rare summit with its neighbour and long-time foe.

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North Korea would likely seek relief from sanctions, which Pence says won't happen without action on denuclearization.

"For our side, for the sports side, this dialogue will continue.", he said, adding that the IOC was in constant dialogue with North Korea's national Olympic committee.

But in an interview in the Washington Post on Sunday, Pence said he and Moon had agreed on terms for more diplomatic engagement with North Korea, first with Seoul and then possibly leading to direct talks with Washington without pre-conditions. It was built in the 1960s under the government of late anti-communist dictator Park Chung-hee as a luxury facility for United States troops stationed in South Korea. A soldier came across the border between North and South Korea with numerous parasites in his intestine, one of which is commonly found in dogs.

"If Pence wants to avoid experiencing a hot agony of shame on the stage of the Olympics, he had better stop behaving imprudently and clearly learn about how ardently the compatriots of the north and the south of Korea wish to reunify the country by their concerted efforts and quietly disappear", the North Korean paper advised. NBC's coverage of the unified Korean women's hockey team described the team as welcomed by the crowd with "heartfelt cheers".

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