Korean official unlikely to oversee Olympic breakthrough

Pablo Tucker
February 6, 2018

The 9,700-tonne ferry, the Mangyongbong 92, was escorted into the eastern South Korean port of Mukho, where throngs of demonstrators were waiting. It was greeted by throngs of protesters, some of whom held large photos of Kim Jong Un with black crosses drawn through them.

"The North previous year declared itself as a nuclear state", said Park Won-Gon, worldwide relations professor at Handong Global University.

In Geneva, the United States said on Tuesday that North Korea may be only months away from being able to strike the United States with a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile, while North Korea said Washington was considering a pre-emptive strike. They also burned a paper version of the North Korean flag.

But North Korea held a military parade, projecting belligerence, even as it prepared for its Olympics charm offensive. He'll also be visiting Japan and South Korea. No unified Korea flags could be spotted in the crowd.

But North and South Korea have also, at least temporarily, put aside their enmity to allow Pyongyang to send athletes to the Games, an opening that some see as an opportunity to push a negotiated settlement.

"With regard to any interaction with the North Korean delegation, I have not requested a meeting, but we'll see what happens", Pence told reporters traveling with him on a week-long trip to Asia, including a visit to the Olympics in Pyeongchang.

The ship carried members of the Samjiyon Band, an orchestra with vocalists and dancers that is headed by one of North Korea's best-known singers, Hyon Song Wol.

Members of the United States Olympic Team dance during a welcome ceremony inside the Pyeongchang Olympic Village prior to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018.

"Meanwhile, he asserted that he would not accept the demand of the South Korean authorities for additional steps related to the "agreement" on the issue of sexual slavery for the Imperial Japanese Army", said the official daily of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

It features dozens of cabins of different classes, including special rooms where Kim Jong Un's father and grandfather stayed, as well as a restaurant, a bar equipped with a karaoke machine, and a shop where guests can buy souvenirs and snacks, such as ice cream, video footage and images from the 2002 show. In fact, they've not had any pressure from South Korea or anybody in terms of talking about nuclear weapons. But it is open to talks to try to persuade Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program.

For other officials in Pyeongchang, however, Kim Yong Nam, whose head of state title stems from his role as chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, the North's unicameral legislature, may be more palatable as a diplomatic liaison.

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