Seoul/Pyeongchang — US 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 in the mountain resort of Pyeongchang came hours before North and South Korean athletes marched together at the opening ceremony, 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, hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, 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. But South Korea’s presidential Blue House said Pence had a meeting scheduled with US athletes and had only planned to stay briefly to greet other officials. Pence shook hands with other leaders, including close ally Japanese Prime Minister S...

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