The Unification Ministry said 2.86 billion won ($2.65 million) will be allocated from a government budget for inter-Korean cooperation to defray the expenses racked up by North Korean cheerleaders, orchestra members, taekwondo performers and others during the event that began last Friday and ends February 25.
Past "charm offensives" have been interpreted as North Korea trying to recoup from crippling sanctions on their nuclear program, or trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its US ally. "As a president, it's all I can ask for", Howard told Reuters, shortly after plain-clothed officials from South Korea's National Counter-terrorism Centre moved him away from the cheerleaders, who he said had been doing a very good job.
He hosted a luncheon on Saturday and Kim Yo Jong and North Korea's elder figurehead, Kim Jong Nam, were there.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also closely following developments but said he and South Korea President Mioon agreed that maximum pressure must be maintained on North Korea.
The North has since sent its athletes to the South Korean ski resort of Pyeongchang, along with cheerleaders and performers.
The North-South thaw has prompted speculation that it could lead to direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang after months of tension and exchanges of insults between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim, which has fueled fears of war.
The delegation also included his younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, who was the "special envoy" to Kim.
The Unification Ministry said the funds will come from the government budget for inter-Korean cooperation and will cover housing and food for the cheering squad, orchestra, taekwondo athletes, journalists and other members of the more than 400-strong delegation. For as little as $3, you can help us.
The North Korean cheerleaders have captured global attention since their arrival at the games.