North Korea not interested in meeting with VP Pence
Feb 09, 2018, 02:01
Saturday will witness South Korean President Moon Jae's meeting with Kim Yo Jong, the sister of his North Korean counterpart Kim Jong Un.
Addressing tens of thousands of troops and civilians assembled on the square below him, Kim said the parade marks North Korea's emergence as a "global military power" despite facing the "worst sanctions".
Worldwide media was, unsurprisingly, not invited to the parade in Pyongyang, which is thought to have showcased rockets and missiles.
Speaking in Tokyo on his way to South Korea, which is hosting the Games over the next three weeks, Pence said he would soon announce the stepped-up sanctions in an effort to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear and missile programmes.
A North Korean cheering squad has performed at a welcome ceremony in the Olympic Village near Pyeongchang, South Korea. "But we'll see what happens".
One of the North's ICBMs - the Hwasong-15 - was wheeled out along with a variety of other missiles, including a Hwasong-12 mid-range missile, which the North flew over Japan twice past year.
Pence, who is set to lead the USA delegation at the opening ceremonies Friday, made the announcement in Japan on Wednesday after meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Instead of the parade, state television showed several hours of propaganda in the morning, followed by a movie and footage of past displays, some of it in black and white.
"We will closely discuss with the United States and other related nations the matter of providing convenience to the Mangyongbong ferry so that no problem regarding sanctions would occur", said Seoul's Unification Ministry spokesman, Baik Tae-hyun. Not only did he broker an agreement to bring North Korea to the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang; he convinced U.S. President Donald Trump that doing so was in fact Trump's idea.
That could put them in the same room at a leaders' reception beforehand.
"We have no intention whatsoever to meet United States authorities during our visit to the South", Cho Yong-Sam, a senior foreign ministry official, was quoted as saying by the North's official KCNA news agency. "This crisis should give us the impetus to pray for the persecuted in that country", he said.
Pence's message is jarringly different from the tone struck by Moon, a liberal leader who has long advocated greater engagement with Pyongyang.
Before leaving Japan for Korea, Pence announced that the USA would unveil in coming days "the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever".
"[There are] no plans to meet with North Korean officials during or after the Olympics", Nauert said.
But he left open the possibility of meeting Pyongyang's representatives.
North Koreans, however, will not be allowed to take the phones back to their home country, either as mementos or personal devices. "We'll have to wait and see exactly how that unfolds".
The Unification Ministry, which is in charge of the South's relations with the North stated - "The objective of this high level delegation visit from the North is to celebrate the opening of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics so the group is composed of the officials from Workers' Party, government and sports industry".
Kim Yo Jong will be part of a North Korean delegation led by the country's nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam.
The North unveiled five new kinds of missiles at its most recent major military parade last April.
The two Koreas, bitterly divided since the Korean War (1950-53) ended without a truce, will march under a unified flag at the opening ceremony on Friday.
But critics in the South say Seoul has made too many concessions to Pyongyang, and demonstrators protested the arrival of the art troupe earlier this week.
"My staff came back to South Korea in an empty auto".
"We will not make use of sports festivities such as the Winter Olympics for political purposes", he was quoted as saying. So we need everybody working together.
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