UPDATE : 2018.12.18 TUE 14:20
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Pence says he and his 'friend' Moon reaffirmed commitment against N.K. nukes

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he and his "friend," South Korean President Moon Jae-in, reaffirmed their commitment to denuclearizing North Korea.

Pence met with Moon in South Korea last week when he led the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

"Honored to watch talented American & Korean athletes face off side-by-side with my friend, President Moon," the vice president tweeted shortly after leaving the country Saturday. "He & I both reaffirmed our commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. S. Korea stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S & our allies."

This photo, provided by South Korea's presidential office, shows South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) watching a short-track speedskating event in Gangneung, South Korea, on Feb. 10, 2018. (Yonhap)

The Winter Games kicked off Friday amid keen attention to the participation of North Korean athletes and their high-level delegation led by the younger sister of the regime's leader, Kim Jong-un.

The sister, Kim Yo-jong, extended to Moon an invitation from her brother to visit Pyongyang. The visit, if realized, would be the first such encounter in a decade following years of tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

"I'm grateful for the strong relationship between the U.S & South Korea," Pence said in a separate tweet. "We're going to stand solidly with South Korea and with all of our allies to continue to bring the maximum pressure to bear on North Korea."

The U.S. leader vowed before and during his trip to South Korea that he would not let the North use the Olympics as a propaganda tool to cover up its human rights abuses.

He was seen avoiding direct contact with Kim Yo-jong and other members of the North Korean delegation in PyeongChang.

Kim Jung-mi  edt@koeapost.com

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