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The official did not say what “unprecedented drastic action” meant. Surprise meeting of top officials Top officials from several countries sat together last Friday for the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Pence did not greet or speak with either of the North Korean officials at the event. official reportedly spoke to Moon about possible terms for engagement with North Korea, but he added that pressure would continue.

But he said the goal of the contacts is to start denuclearization talks between the U. They watched athletes of both North and South Korea march together under the white and blue “unification flag.” The South Korean leader greeted the North Korean representatives. Later, some news media criticized him for ignoring the North Koreans and not clapping during the entrance of the joint Korean team at the opening ceremony. On his return to the United States, Pence reportedly said: “No pressure comes off until they are actually doing something that the alliance believes represents a meaningful step toward denuclearization.” Pence added that, while pressure would intensify, the U. government remained open to talks: “if you want to talk, we’ll talk,” he reportedly said. Robert Manning is an expert with the Atlantic Council, a public policy group based in Washington, D. He described the North Korean invitation as “a very clever move by Kim Jong Un to drive a big wedge” between the two allies.

Moon’s office says he wanted to “create the environment for that to be able to happen.” The South Korean leader got the invitation from high-level North Korean officials, who were attending the winter Olympics.

The North Korean delegation included chief of state Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo Jong, a sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“President Moon must balance his desire for North-South reconciliation with his policy of denuclearization,” noted Manning. "It’s really up to the North Koreans to decide when they’re ready to engage with us in a sincere way, a meaningful way,” he said.

Reuters reports that a South Korean official said that the government’s position is that sanctions and pressure can be expected to continue.

At the same time, the recent contacts have raised hopes of increased diplomatic engagement between the two Koreas.

A spokesman for South Korea’s Unification Ministry said North Korea’s actions were meaningful.

Over 400 North Koreans, including athletes and musicians, have gone to Pyeongchang in what some observers have termed a “charm offensive.” The North Korean actions have raised concerns that they could hurt a United States-led campaign of “maximum pressure” against the North.

The North Korean leadership continues to face international sanctions because of its nuclear and missile activities.

His story also has information from stories by Reuters and the Associated Press.