Relations between the US and North Korea have failed to thaw despite two of the most senior representatives of their countries coming face to face.

US vice-president briefly Mike Pence met Kim Yong-nam, North Korea's titular president, at a reception in South Korea on Friday morning (9 January) ahead of the opening ceremony of the Pyeonchang Winter Olympics, just 50 miles south of the border between the two Koreas.

According to reports by the Korean news agency Yonhap, the pair tried to avoid direct face time with each other. Pence stayed for only five minutes before leaving and headed to Pyeongchang where he applauded the US delegation of Winter Olympic athletes at the opening ceremony.

On Thursday, he warned that the US would continue to place pressure on North Korea over its nuclear programme.

He said that the sanctions policy would stay in place until the Kim regime came to the table to discuss its "permanent and irreversible" denuclearisation.

A senior official at the North's foreign ministry replied: "We have never begged for dialogue with the US and will [not] in the future."

Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened Pyongyang over the past 12 months in an escalating game of verbal jibes with the Kim Jong-un regime.

Fresh UN sanctions and ongoing North Korean missile tests have ratcheted up already high tensions between the hermit nation and the US.

Over the summer, Trump threatened North Korea with "fire and fury" if it continued its nuclear missile developments.