South Korean President Moon Jae-in had "virtually accepted" North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's invitation to Pyongyang, officials said on Saturday, making way for a first inter-Korean summit in more than a decade. It was a sharp, but possibly fleeting, contrast with many months of rising tensions connected to the North's continued development of nuclear weapons and long-range missiles.
If "diplomatic dance" were an event at the Winter Olympics, Kim Jong Un's younger sister would be favored to win gold.
Kim Yo-jong is the only member of the North's ruling family to have visited the South since the end of the war.
She was promoted previous year to the country's Politburo, the senior body of North Korea's communist party, as an alternate member.
Cheong Wa Dae (South Korean presidential office) spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said that Yo-jong came to South Korea as a "special envoy of Kim Jong-un".
Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, verbally delivered the invite to Moon on Saturday.
"We feel like one team".
Lee, a 46-year-old taxi driver, is critical of the North's Olympic participation but said he still wants to meet the North Koreans and say: "Hello". Meanwhile a joint hockey team and a cheerleading squad has generated warm feelings, at least at the Olympics.
"The Winter Olympics is supposed to be cold and I think we were able to host the Olympics because it's so cold here", said Sim.
Though this is not the first time athletes from the two countries have entered the Olympics together, it would take an extraordinary sporting feat to usurp the Koreans' march as the predominant moment of these Games.
Make sure that as north Korea engages in what prime minister Abe rightly called a "charm offensive" around the Olympics.
The Soviet Union occupied North Korea and the United States occupied the South, separating the two territories by the 38th parallel. They were whisked back and forth between Seoul and the Olympic towns of Pyeongchang and Gangneung.
Moon and Kim Yong Nam, the North's ceremonial head of state, will jointly attend the unified Korean women's ice hockey team's first match later Saturday evening.
One telling incident came early.
And when the Koreans emerged - North Korea ice hockey player Chung Gum Hwang and South Korean bobsledder Won Yun-jong both held the flag of a unified Korean peninsula - they were greeted to an ovation from 35,000 cheering spectators. United States Vice-President Mike Pence was also present and led the U.S. delegation. In his New Year address, leader Kim Jong Un demanded a stop to the exercises.
Tensions between the two soared a year ago as Pyongyang tested missiles capable of reaching the US mainland and its most powerful nuclear device to date, while Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump traded personal insults and threats of war.
Most notably, Kim sat directly behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence at Friday night's opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, creating the unique image of two top officials whose governments have been locked in a loud argument, suddenly seated just feet away from each other. The previous meetings came after rounds of global talks aimed at eliminating the North's nuclear program, which eventually failed.
Elsewhere in the stadium, a Kim Jong Un impersonator was not made as welcome as the North Koreans in the VIP box and was ejected by security. North Korean state media said Thursday there was no intention on the North Korean side for such talks to take place.
Here is a look at the history of inter-Korean summits and their outcomes.