The 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea could be a harbinger of peace in the tense Korean peninsula. The participation of North Korea is seen as a positive sign, and it has raised hopes of normalizing relations between the two Koreas.

Kim Jong-un has sent his sister Kim Yo Jong to represent him in the Games, and she could be extending an invitation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang. CNN reports that in case that does happen, it would be the first time a South Korean president would visit the North since 2007. The date could be August 15, which is a holiday in both the countries, because on this date Korea was liberated from Japanese occupation in 1945.

North and South could meet over lunch

The delegation from North Korea has arrived in Seoul on the occasion of the 2018 Winter Olympics. It is rumored that an invitation for Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang could be made at a scheduled welcome luncheon. The spokesman of the president of South Korea has indicated that Moon could meet Kim Yo Jong and other high-level delegates on the sidelines of the Games, but he did not elaborate further.

Kim Yo Jong is the first member of North Korea's ruling family, who has come to South Korea after the 1950-1953 Korean War. According to people in the know, an informal luncheon between her and the delegation of South Korea could open up new channels of communication.

It is a tightrope walk and both the sides are engaged in a very delicate balancing act.

The United States is not pleased

The United States has expressed its displeasure at the way South Korea appears to be playing into the hands of North Korea. Vice President Mike Pence is leading the US delegation at the 2018 Winter Olympics, and he will have to ensure that Kim Jong-un does not succeed in his designs.

Pence has made it clear to Moon Jae-in that denuclearization must be the starting point of any change.

On the eve of the Games, there was a parade of Kim’s soldiers in North Korea, where the might of its Army was on display along with Hwasong-15 missiles. Kim Jong-un witnessed the show and gave a speech but did not utter the word "nuclear." Obviously, he has some strategy in his mind.

Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, wants to improve relations with his neighbor, and America wants him to maintain a distance. It is evident that there is a conflict of interests. In the opinion of observers, Pyongyang is trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington, and Moon Jae-in will have to play his cards close to the chest.