Iran: Samsung must apologize for gift ban against Olympics athletes

Yolanda Curtis
February 9, 2018

Cheong Seong Jang, senior researcher at the Sejong Institute in Seoul, believes that if Kim Yong Nam ends up meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae In, "It is possible that he will carry a message from Kim Jong Un inviting Moon to Pyongyang".

"I am happy to see you", said one cheerleader, beaming broadly but refusing to disclose their cheerleading routine.

The visits are being hailed as a way to "reduce tensions" in Korea, though that's unlikely given that the Kim regime has made it abundantly clear that it will never abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them.

South Korea wants to use the Olympics to re-engage with North Korea and open the way for talks to resolve one of the world's most risky crises.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said North Korea informed it that Kim Yo Jong, first vice director of the Central Committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, would be part of the delegation led by the country's nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam.

Close												North Korean leader Kim Jong Un applauds during the parade as seen on Korean Central Television
Close North Korean leader Kim Jong Un applauds during the parade as seen on Korean Central Television

Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, is expected to attend the opening ceremony on Friday as part of the delegation being sent from the North.

But it noted conservative South Koreans and United States officials were concerned North Korea's large presence at the Olympics could caused cracks in the worldwide alliance opposing North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

More: Kim Jong Un's sister is heading to South Korea for Olympics.

"Quite strangely, no medal, no issue", said Jung Moon-hyun, a sports science professor at Chungnam National University in South Korea.

Experts say it's likely North Korea will continue to ignore USA demands for it to halt its nuclear and missile programs.

But Pence avoided highlighting any daylight between the two allies, telling reporters earlier in the day the relationship between the United States and South Korea is "strong".

North Korea is under multiple sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which have seen it develop rockets capable of reaching the US mainland.

At press time, the main media outlets of North Korea, the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) and Rodong Sinmun, observed the anniversary of the military without mentioning or reporting on the parade.

But Pence has left the door open for an interaction. The South Korean government is reportedly trying to get an exemption to the travel ban for the Olympics from the UN Security Council.

"Despite the resources he's putting into the nuclear programme, despite the sanctions, which have been steadily increasing, everything we see suggests that the North Korean economy has been growing under his leadership". Abe said, "We confirmed we would further reinforce our cooperation regarding North Korea's [actions of] skirting the sanctions".

The performance is the first by North Koreans in the South since 2000, when another orchestra crossed the border for a joint concert to mark Korea's Liberation Day on Aug 15.

But Pence will bring the father of Otto Warmbier, the young American who died after being detained in North Korea, as his guest to the ceremony and has said Washington is preparing its "toughest sanctions ever" on North Korea.

The vice president is visiting Yokota Air Base in Japan.

Vice President Mike Pence is reassuring Japan of its support against the North Korean nuclear threat as he meets with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

As he prepares to travel to South Korea to lead the US delegation to the opening ceremonies of the games, Pence says past overtures to the North have only resulted in "willful deception, broken promises, and endless and escalating provocations".

Other reports by iNewsToday