S. Korea, US agree to stay unified against NK nukes

Cheryl Sanders
January 20, 2018

"It would look freaky to have a military parade in Pyongyang, just a day before the opening of what the South has declared a "Peace Olympics", Ahn Chan-Il, an analyst at the World Institute for North Korea Studies, told Agence France-Presse.

The return time shall be determined later by the two sides.

Few expected that the breakthrough in sports diplomacy would lead to a broader relaxation of the decades-old standoff over the North's nuclear weapon programmes. One Canadian-owned organization in China that pushes exchanges with North Korea has already started selling package tours for the parade, with the option of moving on to South Korea for the Olympics.

The sanctions now bar nearly all exports from North Korea and all oil exports to the country, except for 500,000 barrels of refined fuel annually, as US Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Economic Bureau Sandra Oudkirk explained in a telephone briefing with African journalists on Wednesday. "They should know that train and bus carrying our delegation to the Olympics are still in Pyongyang", North Korean state media wrote Sunday, adding, "The South Korean authorities had better ponder over what unfavorable results may be entailed by their impolite behavior".

Professor Kim Dong-ryul of Pukyoung National University said it is unlikely the cross-border talks would set any milestones on the path to denuclearization.

Russian Federation also sent a reduced team to the Rio de Janeiro summer Games of 2016 after its track and field team as well as weightlifting team, among others, were banned for doping.

South Korea is taking the exact opposite tack. Strong ethnic nationalism compels people in both Koreas to cheer for each other's athletes when they compete against non-Korean teams, especially Japan.

In an interview on Wednesday, President Donald Trump accused Russian Federation of undermining the worldwide effort to force North Korea to relinquish its pursuit of nuclear weapons and more advanced ballistic missile platforms. "But it will be harder and harder to insure that South Korea and the USA stay closely aligned", he said.

The last senior visit by North Korean officials was in 2014, aside from talks on the southern side of the DMZ.

"The U.S. desires dialogue with the North but there hasn't been a momentum or means of justification for initiating talks".

"There are many considerations with regard to the impact of these proposals on the other participating (nations) and athletes", an International Olympic Committee spokesman said this week.

The recent round of talks between South and North Korea are unlikely to break the stalemate on denuclearization, South Korean experts told UPI on Wednesday.

The two Koreas negotiated to share some of the 1988 Seoul Olympics after South Korea won the right to play host to the games. The North has employed similar tactics to shake up the South in the past.

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