Pence avoids encounter with North Korean official as Olympics begin

SEOUL/PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made only a brief appearance at a reception marking the start of the Winter Olympics on Friday, avoiding a potentially awkward encounter with the ceremonial leader of North Korea attending the same event.

The reception hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the mountain resort of Pyeongchang was the culmination of months of work by Seoul, which seeks to use the Olympics to ease tension spurred by North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Ahead of the reception, South Korean media said Pence was expected to be seated opposite Kim Yong Nam, North Korea's nominal head of state, at the 12-seat head table.

However, South Korea's presidental Blue House said Pence had a meeting scheduled with U.S. athletes and had only planned to stay briefly to greet other officials.

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Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony
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Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - North Korea's supporters cheer before the start the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - People practice their part in the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Korean performers demonstrate martial arts during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Fireworks explode outside the stadium during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / JUNG Yeon-Je (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: White Tiger & Five Kids perform during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Performers entertain the fans during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Bongarts/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Fireworks explode during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Dancers perform 'The Land of Peace' segment during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Performers entertain the fans during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Actors perform during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV (Photo credit should read KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images)
Participants perform during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Jonathan NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Fireworks are seen during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: President Moon Jai-in of South Korea and IOC President Thomas Bach wave during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Performers entertain the fans during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Performers take part in the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening Ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - General view of performers before the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Cheerleaders of North Korea await the start of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Martial artists perform before the start the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Cheerleaders of North Korea await the start of the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Korean performers demonstrate martial arts during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Members of the North Korean cheering band wave flags ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / POOL AND AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium - Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Performers take part in the opening ceremony. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj
Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics ? Opening ceremony ? Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium- Pyeongchang, South Korea ? February 9, 2018 - Opening ceremony. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: The South Korean flag 'Taegeukgi' is seen during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Dancers perform 'The Land of Peace' segment during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Actors perform during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Entertainers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Beau-James Wells of New Zealand during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: The South Korean flag is carried during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Eric Frenzel of Germany leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Samer Tawk of Lebanon leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: The athletes from Denmark led by Flag bearer Elena Moller Rigas of Denmark walk out during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Beau-James Wells of New Zealand and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Dancers perform during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: The athletes from Denmark led by Flag bearer Elena Moller Rigas of Denmark walk out during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Ngozi Onwumere of Nigeria and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Akwasi Frimpong of Ghana and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Marius Ungureanu of Romania leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Mattheiu Osch of Luxembourg leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Daumants Dreiskens of Latvia and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Sophia Ralli of Greece leads her team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Mattheiu Osch of Luxembourg and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Tomas Kaukenas of Lithuania and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer German Madrazo of Mexico and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Daumants Dreiskens of Latvia leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Julian Yee of Malaysia leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Ngozi Onwumere of Nigeria leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Erin Hamlin of the United States and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Liechtensteins flagbearer Marco Pfiffner leads the delegation as they parade during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Roberto SCHMIDT (Photo credit should read ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Jan Smeekens of the Netherlands and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Akwasi Frimpong of Ghana and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Connor Wilson of South Africa and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Mialitiana Clerc of Madagascar and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Jan Smeekens of the Netherlands leads out his country during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway leads out his country during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Samir Azzimani of Morocco and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer of Sweden Niklas Edin and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Nevena Ignjatovic of Serbia leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Edson Bindilatti of Brazil leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Lucas Eguibar of Spain leads out his country during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer of Sweden Niklas Edin and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Dario Cologna of Switzerland and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Alessandro Mariotti of San Marino and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Yohan Goncalves Goutt of Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste leads the team in the Parade of Athletes during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Seppe Smits of Belgium and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Radoslav Yankov of Bulgaria and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Alla Tsuper of Belarus and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Sophia Ralli of Greece leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Veronika Velez-Zuzulova of Slovakia leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Samer Tawk of Lebanon leads out his country during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA FEBRUARY 9, 2018: Alpine skier Jelena Vujicic of Montenegro carries the national flag during the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Vesna Fabjan of Slovenia and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Marius Ungureanu of Romania leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Mattheiu Osch of Luxembourg leads his country during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Shiva Keshavan of India during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Pita Taufatofua of Tonga and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Cheyenne Goh of Singapore and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Sebastiano Gastaldi of Argentina and teammates enter the stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA FEBRUARY 9, 2018: Freestyle Alla Tsuper of Belarus carries the national flag during the Parade of Nations at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin\TASS via Getty Images)
Monacos flagbearer Rudy Rinaldi delegation parades during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Albin Tahiri of Kosovo leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Marco Pfiffner of Liechtenstein leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Henrik von Appen of Chile leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Flag bearer Achbadrakh Batmunkh of Mongolia leads the team during the Opening Ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Pence shook hands with other leaders, including close ally Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, but not Kim Yong Nam, according to a Blue House pool report.

Earlier on Friday, Pence said Moon gave his backing to additional measures the United States is planning to try to curb North Korea's missile and nuclear programs.

Pence spoke after paying tribute at a memorial for 46 South Korean sailors killed in the sinking of a warship in 2010 that Seoul blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.

Kim Yong Nam landed in South Korea on Friday along with leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, aboard her brother's private jet.

The white aircraft had the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, North Korea's official name, inscribed in black in Korean on its side, followed by the North Korean flag.

Kim Yo Jong and her delegation were greeted by government officials, including Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon, before boarding a bullet train to Pyeongchang. A special train had been prepared just for the visitors, a Blue House pool report said.

Smiling and seemingly unfazed by cameras flashing during the airport meeting, Kim Yo Jong wore a black coat, matching ankle boots and carried a black purse. Dozens of South Koreans at the airport tried to snap photographs of her on their mobile phones.

She is the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South, while Kim Yong Nam is the most senior North Korean official to make a cross-border trip.

The pair will have lunch with Moon on Saturday, Moon's office said.

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Pence family with animals, including their own pets
See Gallery
Pence family with animals, including their own pets
Karen Pence carries her pet rabbit Marlon Bundo as she reacts to her husband U.S. Vice President Mike Pence during an event celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence looks at a kangaroo called Penny with his wife Karen and their daughters Audrey (L) and Charlotte during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, April 23, 2017. REUTERS/Peter Parkes/Pool
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Karen Pence, wife Vice President Mike Pence, arrives with their family rabbit 'Marlon Bundo' during and event with military families celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. The vice president hosted about 160 spouses and children of the active duty U.S. military members. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - NOVEMBER 22: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (2nd R) pats a facility dog as his wife Karen Pence (R) looks on at the USO Warrior and Family Center November 22, 2017 in Bethesda, Maryland. Pence and his wife placed a visit to service members and their families at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the eve of Thanksgiving. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence let children pet their family rabbit 'Marlon Bundo' during and event with military families celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. The vice president hosted about 160 spouses and children of the active duty U.S. military members. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence greets a service dog during a visit to Walter Reed Medical Center and USO Warrior and Family Center in Bethesda, Maryland, U.S. November 22, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence watches as his wife Karen attempts to touch a koala during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, April 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 09: Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence hold their family rabbit 'Marlon Bundo' during and event with military families celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building May 9, 2017 in Washington, DC. The vice president hosted about 160 spouses and children of the active duty U.S. military members. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence looks at a koala with his daughters Charlotte and Audrey and a keeper during a visit to Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia, April 23, 2017. REUTERS/Jason Reed
WASHINGTON, DC - MAY 9: Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen Pence look over their pet rabbit, Marlon Bundo, as they speak during an event celebrating National Military Appreciation Month and National Military Spouse Appreciation Day in the Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House complex in Washington, DC on Tuesday, May 09, 2017. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
BETHESDA, MD - NOVEMBER 22: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence pats a facility dog at the USO Warrior and Family Center November 22, 2017 in Bethesda, Maryland. Pence and his wife placed a visit to service members and their families at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on the eve of Thanksgiving. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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RIOTS AND GAMES

Pence had kept open the possibility for some contact with the North Koreans in South Korea, while reiterating Washington's insistence that denuclearization by North Korea is a necessary condition for peace.

Pence, Kim Yo Jong and other world leaders will attend the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, just 80 km (50 miles) from the heavily fortified border between North and South Korea, later on Friday.

Hundreds of anti-North Korea protesters scuffled with riot police hours not far from the main stadium before the opening ceremony was due to begin, with some of their banners reading "Moon regime is leading Korea to destruction".

Thousands of spectators, including a squad of more than 200 North Korean cheerleaders, filled the frigid stadium awaiting the start of the opening ceremony, when the two Koreas will march together under one peninsula flag for the first time in more than a decade.

"It is not as cold as I expected. It is a blessed day. I like the reconciliatory mood and I have high expectations," said Kim Sang-yoon, a 44-year-old businessman who drove nearly five hours to see the opening ceremony with his wife and two sons.

Nearly 500 North Koreans have arrived in South Korea for the Olympics, which run through to Feb. 25.

(Reporting by Hyonhee Shin and Christine Kim in SEOUL, Heekyong Yang in INCHEON, Jane Chung and Hyunjoo Jin in PYEONGCHANG; and Linda Sieg and Kaori Kaneko in TOKYO; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Paul Tait and Nick Macfie)

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