North Korean pair skaters disappointed in finish but 'proud to have participated'

North Korean figure skaters advance in Olympic debut

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been briefed by the high-level delegation dispatched to South Korea for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

He thanked the South for "specially prioritising" the North's attendance at the Games, North Korean state news agency KCNA reports. While returning from the Games, US Vice President Mike Pence said that if North Korea is ready to talk, then the United States is ready to do so as well.

During her three-day visit, Kim fascinated South Koreans with her relaxed manner and gentle smile, and was touted by global media for scoring a diplomatic gold.

"I mean you have to remember this is a family that very recently ordered that their brother be murdered using chemical weapons and the world saw that in horror on airport videos reproduced", Pence said. That provides a little more leverage for South Korea in its path-finding outreach to the North and could reduce potential strains in the US-South Korean alliance.

Before the start of the February 9-25 Olympics, PyeongChang's organizing committee had said these cheerleaders would travel to different venues to cheer on South Korean athletes, not just their own Olympians.

Since the war, the leaders of the two Koreas have held formal talks only twice, in 2000 and 2007. North Korea has also relied on its "army of beauties", which is a national cheerleading team, to soften its image.

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North Koreans that have crossed the border into South Korea for the Winter Olympics are constantly being watched to ensure they don't defect.

Pence's remarks are in line with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said in December that the US was ready to talk to the North without preconditions. "No one who reads the Times could think for a second that the Times doesn't understand about human rights abuses or North Korea's nuclear program".

After the game ended with an 8-0 score, Moon, Bach and North Korean officials went down to the bench and had a talk with the Korean hockey players.

The South Korea-U.S. Combined Forces Command says there's no change in the U.S. position on the drills.

According to the Blue House, Kim Jong Un wanted to meet Moon "in the near future" and would like him to visit North Korea "at his earliest convenience", his sister told Moon.

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