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President Moon Jae-in (right) shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence in a meeting at Cheong Wa Dae on Feb. 8. (Cheong Wa Dae)

By Sohn JiAe

President Moon Jae-in said in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Feb. 8 that, “The U.S.’ resolute principles and the sound Korea-U.S. alliance have contributed greatly to an inter-Korean dialogue and North Korea’s participation in the PyeongChang Olympic Games.”

The vice president was visiting Korea as a leader of the U.S. high-ranking delegation that was to attend the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

In the meeting, President Moon stressed that, “We should make the most of the Olympic Games to denuclearize Pyongyang and also to establish peace across the Korean Peninsula.” To this end, what’s most important is the “watertight cooperation between Seoul and Washington,” President Moon said.

Noting that Pence’s visit to Korea was more great encouragement, more than anything else, to make the PyeongChang Games a true “Peace Olympics,” President Moon continued to say that, “It means a lot that during the Olympic Games, the first stage of multilateral diplomacy among world leaders since my inauguration, high-ranking officials from the U.S., Japan and China, three crucial parties associated with North Korean issues and with the creation of peace and security on the peninsula, will come together.”

The U.S. vice president sent words of support from U.S. President Donald Trump for a safe and successful Olympic Games, and reaffirmed the U.S. defense pledge toward Korea.

“The U.S will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in our effort to bring maximum pressure to bear on North Korea, until that time comes when the regime finally and permanently and irreversibly abandons its nuclear missile ambitions,” he said. “Our resolve to stand with the South is unshakable.”

jiae5853@korea.kr