The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games that began on Friday, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programs previous year and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.
The South Korean presidential office said Mr. Moon had encouraged North Korea to have dialogue with the U.S.as well. "We wanted the North Koreans to see the vice president, Abe and Moon sitting directly in front of them for the opening ceremonies, and it would show that that alliance is strong".
Relations between the two Koreas are apparently improving after North Korea chose to join the Pyeongchang Olympics that began Friday, but Pyongyang has so far shown no sign of abandoning its missile and nuclear development programs.
After taking in tigers, drum brigades and national parades during the Opening Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, folks in South Korea were treated to another made-for-TV event: an historic meeting between high-ranking officials from both halves of the Korean Peninsula.
Earlier Friday, Abe and Moon affirmed their stance of raising pressure on the North Korea in talks ahead of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
Any summit between the two still-officially warring Koreas would be a coup for Moon, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes. "Special envoy Kim Yo Jong delivered a personal letter" from her brother stating his "wish to improve inter-Korean relations", said Moon's spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom. During the parade of nations, they stood only for the USA team.
"We should firmly keep in mind any talks where denuclearisation is not a precondition only buy North Korea more time to complete its nuclear capabilities while they fool us with their peace offensive façade", said Chang Je-won, spokesman for the Liberty Korea Party.
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I asked him to repeat what he said and I think he realized what he said and tried to limit the damage. This is a serious accusation so he wants to defend it and that's all I really want to say on it.
Tensions soared past year as the North staged a series of nuclear and missile tests in violation of United Nations resolutions, while leader Kim and US President Donald Trump traded colourful insults and threats of war.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon (R) shakes hands with Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, during a lunch meeting in Seoul on February 11, 2018. 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.
While describing the deal as "seriously flawed", Moon has said Seoul will not seek to renegotiate it, though he did express hope for a fresh Japanese apology to the victims, who were forced to provide sex for Japanese troops before and during World War II.
"However, what is more important than anything else is that we are all here together now; we can cheer for athletes together and talk about our future", Moon said.
Pence also attended the Games opening ceremony but had no contact with the North Korean delegation.
There's worry, too, that the proposed summit in Pyongyang may come with preconditions - a North Korean specialty.
"I'm announcing today that the United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever", Pence said.