North Korea holds military parade on eve of Games

Michele Moreno
February 9, 2018

"To that end, I'm announcing today the United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever".

Pence declined to offer specifics on exactly what the new package of sanctions would consist of.

"We. have become capable of showcasing our stature as a world-class military power to the world", said Mr Kim Jong Un. Such entangling relationships can never be in our own interests.

Aides say the vice president is advancing a counter message, using the games as an opportunity for the South and the broader global community to exert what President Donald Trump has termed "maximum pressure" against the North. "We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region", he added.

Earlier on Thursday, at Yokata Air Base in Japan, Pence said Washington would "continue to seize every opportunity" to ensure that North Korea does not use the Olympics to "paper over an appalling record of human rights and a pattern of developing weapons" that threaten the US and the region.

"Explicitly speaking, we have no intention to meet with the U.S. side during the stay in South Korea". Surrounded by a heavy police presence, they tore and burned drawings of Kim Jong Un and the North Korean flag. In addition to showing support for our US athletes, the Vice President will show his confidence in and appreciation for our USA military stationed in the region.

The North Korean and USA delegations are both expected to attend a reception hosted by Moon ahead of the opening ceremony for the Games, but North Korea's foreign ministry has said there will be no meeting with Pence.

Several diplomatic sources with deep knowledge of North Korea's intentions say there is a "good chance" Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will invite South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit Pyongyang "sometime this year".

In North Korea's dynastic system, which upholds the Kim family's "bloodline" as a sacred leadership qualification, Kim Yo Jong wields a singular clout that can not be matched by any non-relative members of the elite, according to North Korea analysts.

Yo Jung, who is part of an official delegation that includes the ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam, is expected to arrive to South Korea ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

Earlier Thursday Cho Yong Sam, a senior Pyongyang foreign ministry official, was quoted as saying the North had "no intention" of meeting U.S. authorities during the trip.

"We are not going to use such a sports festival as the Winter Olympics as a political lever", the official reportedly said.

The protest was kept out of sight for the North Koreans on the cruise ship, which docked about 500 meters (yards) away.

Both sides are hoping to use participation by the North in the games to ease tensions that have been exceptionally high over the past year amid North Korea's stepped-up missile launches and nuclear weapons' development.

Other reports by Insurance News

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