SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday met with senior North Korean officials including leader Kim Jong Un's sister over lunch at Seoul's presidential palace in the most significant diplomatic encounter between the rivals in years. The luncheon at the Blue House came after Kim Yo Jong and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which has brought a temporary lull in tensions over the North's nuclear program. At the Olympic Stadium's VIP box, Kim Yo Jong and North Korea's nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam, took their place among dignitaries from around the world, including U.S.
South Korean television is showing a smiling President Moon Jae-in entering a reception room and shaking hands with North Korean delegates, including leader Kim Jong Un's sister. The rare meeting at the Blue House in Seoul on Saturday comes after Kim Yo Jong and other North Korean delegates attended the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics where they took their place among dignitaries from around the world, including U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. The luncheon also includes Choe Hwi, chairman of the North's National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — In an extraordinary show of unexpected unity, North and South Korea sat side by side Friday night under exploding fireworks that represented peace, not destruction, as the 2018 Winter Olympics opened on a Korean Peninsula riven by generations of anger, suspicion and bloodshed. The sister of North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un, shook hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in — and appeared genuinely pleased — while they watched an elaborate show of light, sound and human performance. Minutes later came a moment stunning in its optics and its implications: the United States, represented by Vice President Mike Pence, sitting a row ahead of Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, and the North's nominal head of state, all watching the games begin — officials from two nations that many worry have been on the brink of nuclear conflict.
SRINAGAR, India (AP) — A group of militants in Indian Kashmir opened fire Saturday inside an army camp in the disputed region, police said. The attack began early in the morning and it was unclear how many gunmen were involved, said a police official, speaking on customary condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the media. The camp is located on the outskirts of the city of Jammu. The area was cordoned off as intermittent firing continued. Few other details were immediately available. The Himalayan region of Kashmir is divided between India and archrival and neighbor Pakistan. Both claim the region in its entirety.
BEIJING (AP) — A detained Swedish bookseller at the center of escalating row between Western governments and Beijing has accused Sweden of using him as a "chess piece" in an appearance arranged by Chinese police. Gui Minhai, a Hong Kong-based publisher who sold books of gossip about Chinese leaders, told several outlets including the South China Morning Post on Friday that he never wanted to leave China and that Stockholm was using his case to "create trouble." The statement from Gui, who spoke in a detention facility flanked by police, was immediately denounced by rights activists as coerced. Gui was seized in January by Chinese agents while traveling on a train with Swedish diplomats who were apparently trying to escort him out of China.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — It was a historic moment, and it happened even before the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics had officially begun. As South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his wife greeted VIPs in their dignitary box to watch the opening ceremony, they turned to shake hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister, who arrived earlier in the day on an unprecedented visit to the South by a member of the North's ruling Kim family. All broke out in broad smiles. Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, was at the opening ceremony with North Korea's nominal head of state, 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — Tracers lit up the night. Explosions rocked the stadium, and the acrid smoke that followed the rockets' red glare left some in the crowd coughing and choking. By the time it was all over, giant flames licked toward the sky as the envoys of two enemy governments watched warily. It rained fire into Olympic Stadium for parts of two hours on Friday night, and no one panicked — not the North Koreans, not the South Koreans, not the Americans. In fact, everyone seemed thrilled. All Olympics opening ceremonies are about optics, about intense visuals — and often about meticulously calibrated pyrotechnics in angry colors designed to leave a lasting impression on eyes and mind.
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) — The highly politicized Pyeongchang Olympics are officially opening, but not without some last-minute drama as the Court of Arbitration for Sport is set to announce whether 45 excluded Russian athletes can compete. The Russians had not received invites to the games from the International Olympic Committee, which said it couldn't be sure they weren't involved in Russian doping scandals. Another 168 Russians have been invited as "Olympic Athletes from Russia," competing in neutral uniforms under the Olympic flag. The opening ceremony is Friday night, and figure skating training and qualifying competition in events including women's moguls were underway in the morning.
Racing with a torn ACL, former Olympic champion Carlo Janka has lost his bid to be selected by Switzerland in the men's downhill. Janka's coaches set a top five target in the final practice run to make the four-man Swiss team for Sunday's race. He placed 18th, 1.19 seconds off the pace. "I had to be on the very top today. I missed that," Janka tells The Associated Press. The 2010 Olympic gold medalist in giant slalom has not started a race all season after damaging his right knee in October. Janka opted for physical therapy over surgery in hope of competing at Jeongseon, where he got the last of his 11 career World Cup wins — a super-G that tested the Olympic course in February 2016.
VATICAN CITY (AP) — Myanmar's Catholic cardinal says it's likely that Rohingya Muslim refugees in Bangladesh won't ever go home and that "the elements of ethnic cleansing" that drove them out are now apparent. Two months after Pope Francis visited Myanmar and Bangladesh, Cardinal Charles Bo said Friday that even though the Myanmar government was making plans to receive Rohingya back, many would opt to go elsewhere. He cited security fears, continued discrimination and economic necessity. Bo, who was at a Vatican conference on human trafficking, again defended Myanmar civilian leader Aung Sung Suu Kyi, saying she has no constitutional right to speak out against the military.