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US Vice President 'to Announce Toughest and Most Aggressive' Sanctions Against DPRK

09 February, 2018, 04:58 | Author: Lydia Fleming
  • Bitter cold affecting athletes, gear at Winter Olympics

The apparent thaw has not been reflected in Washington.

South Korea wants to use the event to re-engage with North Korea and open the way for talks to resolve one of the world's most risky crises, in which US President Donald Trump and Pyongyang have swapped nuclear threats.

Responding to the furor, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said athletes from both countries would receive the phones but that the North Koreans would be asked not to take the devices home.

In a related development, Jo Yang Sam, Director General of North Korea's foreign ministry, said on Thursday that they "had never "bagged the U.S. for dialogue".

North Korea says it is not interested in meeting with Vice President Mike Pence while he is in South Korea for the Winter Olympics.

The US has given mixed signals about its willingness to talk.

The vice president himself left the door open as to whether he would meet North Korean officials at the Olympic games, fueling speculation that a meeting was in the works.

"Not everyone gets to see it", said Kim Mi-sook, who came to the concert with her husband.

During the parade, North Korea demonstrated its new intercontinental ballistic missile named Hwasong-15, which it claims can reach the USA mainland.

"North Korean and Iranian athletes will be excluded because of existing United Nations sanctions" against the two countries, a Pyeongchang organising committee spokeswoman told AFP.

Kim Yong-nam is the President of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea, a position he has held since 1998.

In this image made from video by North Korea's KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un salutes during the military parade on Thursday (Friday NZ Time).


A source from within the Olympic movement told Reuters a delay in delivering the phones had been due to "a misunderstanding". The North Korean delegation will also include Kim Yong Nam, the country's nominal head of state, and Choe Hwi, chairman of the country's National Sports Guidance Committee.

But his comments did not rule out a meeting - and nor has Pence, who lambasted the North Thursday but added: "There may be a possibility for any kind of an encounter with North Koreans", whether informal or a meeting.

Abe said the two countries agreed they could "never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea".

Another member of the high-level delegation, Kim Jong Un's younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, was blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department past year, but not by the United Nations.

Mattis also said the situation with North Korea is "firmly in the diplomatic lane", a reminder the United States has postponed joint exercises with the South for the duration of the games.

The interim United States envoy said Washington supported North Korea's participation in the Pyeongchang Games as it would allow the country's leaders to see "what good things accrue when they decide to rejoin the worldwide community and make the right decisions". "That's promoting Kim Jong Un and North Korea's ideology".

That could put them in the same room at a leaders' reception beforehand. Abe said, "We confirmed we would further reinforce our cooperation regarding North Korea's [actions of] skirting the sanctions". "If South Korea, the neighboring nation that should be most alarmed by North Korea's nuclear and missile development programs, makes clear that it is adopting a conciliatory approach, the global net encircling North Korea will loosen", a senior Japanese government official told The Yomiuri Shimbun.

"They're too close to the end of the program to simply stop and give up", Rodger Baker, vice president of strategic analysis at Stratfor, told CNN.

Analysts said the parade seemed smaller than those of previous years, but was still focused on the North's goal of strengthening its nuclear missile capabilities.

According to a CNN team at the scene, the protest took place several hundred yards away from the concert venue, behind police lines.

Jang Ok, a 52-year old resident of Gangneung who attended the ceremony with his wife, said the performance was "mindblowing". Not surprisingly, she caught North Korean watchers' attention. "I nearly broke into tears during the performance", he said.

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