South China Morning Post reported that the pictures were taken before a New Year's speech by North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in which he warned President Donald Trump about a "nuclear button" on his desk, while also offering to hold talks with Seoul. Over the past few month Trump had hostile exchanges Kim, who has repeatedly been mocked by Trump as a "rocket man" over his weapons programs.
The North and South Korea started high-level talks on Tuesday at the truce village of Panmunjom that straddles the heavily guarded border between the two neighbours.
"President Trump said the United States is open to talks should North Korea want them, as long as the circumstances and timing are right".
The North, however, has refused to do so, arguing that its development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles is necessary to deter a potential attack by the U.S.
Following a meeting with Moon in June, Trump said the "era of strategic patience with the North Korean regime has failed". Having underestimated North Korea's nuclear capabilities and misjudged the pace at which it developed its missile technology, the United States will be more anxious about containing the missile programme.
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Trump tweeted overnight that he would not attend the ceremony, initially scheduled for next month. He said Trump's visit "would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests".
The relationship between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has featured persistent threats and personal attacks over the course of the past year as North Korea has continued to engage in missile tests.
Donald Trump, however, did not exude confidence as to whether or not the talks would be successful.
"Both sides wanted to win and they got it", said John Delury, a professor at Seoul's Yonsei University.
"Another important priority is to improve relations between the North and the South in order to reach a turning point in the fight for reunification", the ambassador said.
In addition to attending the opening ceremony on February 9, Pence will travel to Seoul, the South Korean capital, and Tokyo for meetings centered on security in the Korean peninsula, the executive mansion said in a statement. In the same call, Moon thanked Trump for his "leadership in making the talks possible".