Kang eyes creative post-Olympics diplomacy following NK summit proposal

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Major protests have erupted in South Korea as activists burn the North's flag.

The supporters cheered from all four sides of the ice rink as the unified Korean women's ice hockey team were hammered 8-0 by a strong Switzerland side.

But the North Korean cheerleading squad there to support the team? The previous meetings came after rounds of global talks aimed at eliminating the North's nuclear program, which eventually failed.

But analysts say it may be more hard for the South to arrange a summit with the North coming off a year in which Pyongyang test-fired dozens of missiles, including three ICBMs, and conducted its most powerful nuclear test to date.

Her presence in the Olympics Stadium in Pyeongchang is the first time that a member of her family have visited South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War.

The visit included an invitation for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to travel to Pyongyang for talks.

If the inter-Korean meeting at the highest level is to be convened in Pyongyang, it would be the first in a decade following the ones in 2000 and 2007, held in the North's capital during the years of the so-called "Sunshine Policy", which marked the closest relations to date between the two countries.

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Speaking to the Washington Post aboard Air Force Two on his way home from the Games, Pence said Washington would keep up its "maximum pressure campaign" against Pyongyang but would be open to possible talks at the same time. "So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify. But if you want to talk, we'll talk".

North Korea defends its weapons programmes as essential to counter USA aggression, saying regular war drills between the United States and the South are preparations for invasion. It was built in the 1960s under the government of late anti-communist dictator Park Chung-hee as a luxury facility for USA troops stationed in South Korea.

South Korea may also need to persuade traditional allies the United States and Japan, which have raised concerns that the North is attempting to use its outreach as a release valve for worldwide pressure.

The statement from the Ministry of Unification came after the North Korean delegation concluded its three-day visit.

Experts say that it is critical for South Korea to get the USA and other partners on board in its efforts to turn the current peace mood being created by the Olympics - and the North's participation therein - into meaningful steps to denuclearize the North, a task the foreign ministry is supposed to spearhead going forward. North Korea has said it will never give up its nuclear deterrent and critics in the South see its participation in the Games as a reward for bad behaviour.

Analysts say Kim Jong Un's decision to send his sister to the South reflected an eagerness to break out of diplomatic isolation by improving ties with the South, which the country could eventually use as a bridge to approach the United States.

"Under a strong position for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, Korea will faithfully implement the worldwide sanctions on North Korea, while also adhering to the principle of resolution through peaceful means", the statement said.

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