But Moon has also said that he would be willing to meet Kim only if he received assurances from the North that it would help resolve the crisis over the North's nuclear weapons program. "One of the main reasons North Korean athletes don't defect is due to their families back in North Korea", Benjamin Young, a doctoral candidate at George Washington University who has researched sports in North Korea, told ABC News' Mae Joo.
After months of tensions, the athletes from the two countries marched under the same flag in the parade ceremony. Asia experts said Pence's sour conduct toward the North Koreans could be seen as disrespectful to the South Korean hosts, who were demonstrating a moment of harmony with the North.
The spectacle was greeted with apparent joy by South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his guest, Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Sarah Murray, the Canadian coach of the Korean team, said she and her staff have intentionally played down the historic nature of the team since the players are facing enough challenges with the late addition of the North Korean players. They said Pence could have opted to sit with the USA delegation and avoided the box that included the North Koreans.
The meeting is the most significant diplomatic encounter between the two sides in more than a generation, CNN said.
"We wanted to show the alliance seated together", the official said. "But he stayed there the entire time. and talked to Moon and Abe and their spouses, and the North Koreans sat in the back and didn't talk to anybody, and that image is telling".
In the days leading up to the Olympics, Pence warned that the North was trying to "hijack the message and imagery" of the event with a propaganda campaign, according to Reuters. "Not only the leaders but also the rest of the performers will be punished for not reporting suspicious signs of a defector", he says.
North and South Koreans marching together under a unified peninsula flag gave Thomas Bach goosebumps, the International Olympic Committee president told Reuters on Saturday.
Deepening the odd-man-out optics for Pence, Moon and Kim, smiling broadly, exchanged a handshake and cheered the team enthusiastically.
She's been known to act as an advance-team leader, inspecting sites before official visits and taking on administrative duties, analysts said.
Team Switzerland and Team Korea after their Women's Ice Hockey preliminary round - game at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on Saturday. "He's biased for the Americans". He wants them all to win medals.