The apparent thaw has not been reflected in Washington.
High-profile North Korean officials including Hwang Pyong So, Choe Ryong Hae and the late Kim Yang Gon visited the South in October 2014 to attend the closing ceremony of the 17th Asian Games in Incheon.
South Korea said Wednesday it's reviewing whether to meet North Korea's request to provide fuel to the ferry that transported more than 100 North Korean artists for performances at the Pyeongchang Olympics.
The US has given mixed signals about its willingness to talk.
"We have never begged for dialogue with the U.S. and will never do so", he said. "Both Korea and China need to work toward the same goal to encourage the US and North Korea to hold dialogue".
The South Koreans were accompanied by a 32-member North Korean delegation, including 10 athletes invited to participate for the Olympics, on their return flight the next day.
Kim Yong-nam is the President of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea, a position he has held since 1998.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the national science centre in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on January 12, 2018.
Both countries' athletes will march under a unified flag during the opening ceremony on Friday, athletes from the two countries will train together before the Olympics begin, and a joint North and South Korean women's ice hockey team will compete during the games.
"Her trip will create a media frenzy, stealing the show from Vice President Pence who wants to highlight the North's human rights abuses and sanctions-defying nuclear drive", he said.
However, since arriving in the region, Pence has taken a more strident tone, saying American "resolve" had not wavered in bringing global pressure against Pyongyang.
The desperate truth about chemical weapons in Syria
This is not the first time the Syrian government is accused of using chemical attacks that have killed civilians . The SOHR said Tuesday's death toll was the highest recorded in Eastern Ghouta in more than a month.
U.S. claims self-defense in strikes on Syrian-backed forces
About 100 of the attackers were then killed in a counter-strike, an American military official said. Up to 30 artillery and tank rounds came within 500 yards of an SDF headquarters.
No immunity for Zuma‚ Ramaphosa tells ANC caucus
The opposition parties had demanded that the speech be postponed until Zuma was removed from the leadership. Zuma normally holds cabinet meetings on Wednesdays.
But nearly as popular will be the sideshow that is Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, who will be the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Kim Yo Jong was blacklisted past year by the U.S. Treasury Department over human rights abuses and censorship.
While Choe is the only member of the North Korean delegation blacklisted by the Security Council, South Korea asked the sanctions committee for broad approval to host the entire high-level delegation from Pyongyang between February 9 and 11, according to the request seen by Reuters on Wednesday.
Asked if war with North Korea is closer than when Trump took office a year ago, Mattis said USA policy is "firmly in the diplomatic lane", as shown by agreement among world powers to increase sanctions.
Tanks, missile launchers, armoured vehicles, artillery pieces and up to 13,000 soldiers are marching for Kim Jong-un in a display of might to the West.
The North Korean leader addressed his people, urging them to remain vigilant against the United States and its "hostile policy".
For his part, Abe said that Japan and the United States had "confirmed... that we can never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea".
Pence did not rule out a possible meeting with North Korean officials, telling reporters, "we'll see what happens".
"They're too close to the end of the program to simply stop and give up", Rodger Baker, vice president of strategic analysis at Stratfor, told CNN.
But the F-22 fighter jet behind him projected an equally powerful dose of symbolism - one of American military might ready to combat a North Korean nuclear threat that has dominated the Trump administration's first year in office.