Several diplomatic sources with deep knowledge of North Korea's intentions say there is a "good chance" Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will invite South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang "sometime this year."
The invitation could be made at a scheduled welcome luncheon on Saturday between Moon and Kim Yo Jong.
While the sources say "nothing is final," a potential date for a trip could be August 15, the day Korea was liberated from Japanese occupation in 1945, a holiday marked by both Koreas.
Hosting an informal lunch for the high level North Korean delegation avoids any protocol format where only one main speaker has a voice. That main speaker would normally be Kim Yong Nam, the head of the delegation and North Korea's ceremonial head of state.
Sources say an informal luncheon would give Kim Yo Jong more freedom to interact with the South Koreans than anybody else in the North Korean delegation.
Political maneuvering by North Korea and statements by the United States in response threaten to overshadow the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which is due to officially start Friday.
On the eve of the Games, North Korea staged a parade involving thousands of soldiers marching in unison, planes soaring above and four of Pyongyang's newest and most sophisticated missiles, the Hwasong-15.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched all of it from a balcony above and gave a rousing speech in which he warned about the dangers of imperialism in the world.
Sources say it was noteworthy that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un didn't mention the word "nuclear" during his speech, instead choosing to refer to his country as having "developed into a world class military power."
Images broadcast on North Korean state television showed huge formations of people marching in unison, and row of tanks and weapons. However sources say the parade plans were "scaled down at the last minute."
South Korean President Moon is seeking to continue a meaningful dialogue with North Korea, but he's also under pressure from the United States to disengage from Pyongyang after the Olympics and join Washington in a campaign of "maximum pressure."
Sources say an invitation for Moon to visit North Korea may be a continuation of Pyongyang's efforts to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington.
While North Korea has stated it has no intention of meeting with the United States at the Olympics, Kim Yo Jong is expected to use her visit to South Korea to attempt to thaw relations with China, which has been stepping up enforcement of unprecedented sanctions against North Korea, resulting in billions of dollars in trade losses for both countries.
This BBSNews article originally appeared on News | WPLG.