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Leaders of North and South Korea Meet Ahead of Winter Olympic Opening

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam briefly met in South Korea on Friday. The two leaders, whose countries are still technically at war, shook hands ahead of the opening of the Winter Olympics.

South Korean official news agency Yonhap reported that the two men greeted each other at the pre-opening ceremony reception for the Winter Games, which are being held in Pyeongchang, South Korea, less than 30 miles from the highly militarized border that separates the two countries.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe were among other prominent leaders to meet Moon at the warmup event. There is no indication that Pence and Kim crossed paths.

In public, Pence has maintained a tough stance on North Korea, which has rattled the world with its nuclear weapons tests and rocket launches.

“Karen & I landed in Seoul for important conversations with South Korean President Moon. The U.S. & our allies will continue to intensify our maximum pressure campaign on N. Korea until it abandons its nuclear & ballistic missile programs once & for all,” Pence tweeted.

“Together with our allies and partners we will continue to strive to peacefully dismantle North Korea’s nuclear program and alleviate the suffering of its people. Let the world know: we are ready for any eventuality.”

The Olympic pageantry gets under way at 8 p.m. local time. As part of a peace initiative, the two Koreas will parade under a unified Korean flag. They are also joining forces to field a single women’s ice hockey team.

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