USA sends conflicting signals over North Korea diplomacy

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The fence-mending is also adding to hopes that the North may come out to negotiate denuclearisation with Pence, who expressed willingness to talk to the North during his flight back to the U.S. last week.

The warm North-South body language at the Games not only fanned talk of a split between Seoul and Washington, it contrasted with a cold encounter between South Korea and Japan, an ally in US-led efforts to pressure North Korea. This is, Rogin pointed out, differs from the prior position of the US, that the USA would only engage with the North if it made concessions on denuclearization first.

Such an inter-Korea summit, which would be the first since 2007 should it go ahead, would follow months of worldwide tensions and sanctions over Pyongyang's weapons program.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-In met Kim Yo Jong four times, and received an invitation to meet with Kim Jong Un for a summit in North Korea's capital.

Pence and the USA delegation in Pyeongchang, South Korea, did not meet with North Korean officials during the trip, despite the vice president not ruling out the possibility last week.

Pence spoke after attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea last week, at which he avoided contact with a North Korean delegation that held talks with the South Korean leadership.

Pence called it "maximum pressure and engagement at the same time". Their visit to the South was the first by such a senior delegation since the Korean War in the 1950s.

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.

"Say what you will about the brutal North Korean dictatorship, at least they are #RESISTING Trump!".

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea Winners at the Pyeongchang Olympics don't immediately receive their medals after an event.

Mr Moon said the Koreas should "make it happen" and encouraged the North to return to negotiations with the US.

International Olympic Committee chief Bach hailed the attempts from North and South Korea to ease tensions between the two countries, calling their endeavors a "powerful message of peace" to the world.

The US wants to strengthen sanctions and military pressure toward North Korea.

The South Korean president Moon Jae-in took some heat over his hospitality to North Korean delegates, but he gave some indication that he remains cautious about Kim Jong-un. 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.

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