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South Korean president Moon Jae-in has met North Korean officials, including Kim Jong-un's sister, over lunch at Seoul's presidential palace, a historic event that is the highest level contact between the two nations in more than a decade.

Moon asked the North Korean delegation during Saturday's meeting to engage in dialogue with Washington "at an early date", the Blue House said.

The personal invitation from Kim was delivered by his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, during talks and a lunch Moon hosted at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.

South Korea has been using the Pyeongchang Games to break the ice with the reclusive North, which has been trading nuclear threats with the United States recently.

Athletes from South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) marched together under a unified Korean flag at the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics on Friday.

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"He sent the country's nominal head of state and also his sister Kim Yo Jong to Seoul and they would need to have something to show for it when they return home", Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korean expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to Moon, said.

The meeting led to a series of reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War, as well as the launch of a joint factory park in the North's border town of Kaesong in 2004.

But US Vice President Mike Pence, who was seated in the same box at the opening ceremony, did not interact with the North Koreans at any point, US officials said. Pence appeared to leave the door open for negotiations earlier this week when he said, "I haven't requested any meeting".

Al Jazeera's Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from the South Korean city of Gangneung, said the meeting would be famous in history. As they paraded, a familiar folk song known as "Arirang", considered an unofficial national anthem, played in the background.

Ms Kim and the north's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam made up the most senior delegation from the north to visit the south since the Korean War in the 1950s.

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But the United States and Japan have warned against North Korea's "smile diplomacy", through which Pyongyang is apparently trying to weaken global economic sanctions against it by getting close to South Korea. If peace is not imminent, a summit in Pyongyang between Mr Moon and Kim Jong Un seems better to most than the threats of recent months.

On his flight to Alaska on Saturday, the vice president said he left Asia "encouraged that we will continue to work very closely to continue and intensify the maximum pressure campaign" against North Korea.

Pence's office didn't directly address Kim's invitation to Moon. "The world cannot turn a blind eye to the oppression & threats of the Kim regime", he tweeted earlier Saturday.

It was a raucous and historic night mixing sports and politics on an worldwide stage for a second straight night in this remote region of South Korea.

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