That was the clearest sign yet of an expanding diplomatic opening opposed by the Trump administration.
The invitation was made by Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, during a historic meeting between North and South Korean officials at Seoul's presidential palace Saturday, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.
But North Korea's bad record on human rights and the growing threat from its nuclear weapons program appeared out of mind. A total of about 500 North Koreans, including 22 athletes and 140 musicians, arrived in South Korea this week for the Olympics.
Kim Jong-il, Kim's father, had met with two South Korean presidents in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, before his death in 2011: with President Kim Dae-jung in 2000, and with President Roh Moo-hyun in 2007.
Speaking to reporters on his flight home on Saturday, Mr. Pence said the United States, South Korea and Japan were in complete agreement on isolating North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
Moon also urged North Korea to talk to the United States, his office said. Austria have sealed more medals than Norway at Winter Paralympics (325) but less golds (104). "We all join and support you in your message of peace", he said. Then when the Korean team entered the stadium under a unified flag, Pence sat stone-faced while Moon and North Korean officials stood together in applause.
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In stark contrast, two kinds of kimchi - the fermented cabbage that features in every Korean meal - were on the menu for the delegation's lunch with Moon at the Blue House on Saturday, one mild Northern style version and a spicier Southern recipe, along with soju, the traditional Korean rice liquor.
Pyon said he was happy to see the Korean hockey team competing with a "single-minded" unity, saying the two Koreas could also field a joint Alpine team in the future. The Pences, seated next to Moon and just a row ahead of Kim and the North's 90-year-old nominal head of state, remained in their seats, unsmiling. "VP stands and cheers for USA athletes, VP hangs out with US athletes instead of dining with Kim regime, VP does not applaud N. Korea or exchange pleasantries w/ the most oppressive regime on earth", Agen tweeted, with check marks next to each item. "And he is encouraging both sides to come together".
American mainstream media outlets delivered plenty of propaganda on North Korea's behalf this weekend. That said, there's now no indication that Pence and Kim exchanged any pleasantries on the balcony.
Some analysts were skeptical of that prospect.
Order wasn't fully restored to the system for 12 hours, at about 8 a.m. Saturday, the Guardian reported.