Mike Pence didn't snub North Koreans deliberately, officials say

Historic handshake

Historic handshake

On Friday, the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics kicked off with a show of unity between North Korea and South Korea.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power a year ago on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North and has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile program.

They said Pence could have opted to sit with the USA delegation and avoided the box that included the North Koreans. He was later to say he wanted to take it to the Methodist Church he attends in USA as evidence of the system North Korea. Seated behind Pence are Kim Yong Nam, third from top right, president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament, and Kim Yo Jong, second from top right, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

"Today, Seoul is like any metropolitan city in the United States", Ewing said.

But Pence has not let up on the tough rhetoric he's been delivering since arriving in Asia.

Eager to put a reality check on the thaw in relations, Pence will meet this morning with North Korean defectors and pay respects at the Cheonan Memorial in Seoul, which honors the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack attributed to the North.

At the 2007 Asian Winter Games, South Korea's female alpine skier, Oh Jae-eun, was the co-flagbearer with North Korean male ice hockey player, Ri Kum-song. But because the two Koreas have been combined for the occasion, the single Korean delegation was the 91st to enter the open-air arena.

Pyongyang conducted its largest nuclear test previous year and in November tested its most advanced intercontinental ballistic missile that experts said has the range to reach anywhere in the United States.

Youthful President Kim Jong Un had indicated in his New Year message that North Korea, for whom unification with the South is like a religious injunction, wants not just dialogue, but a quick resolution of issues.

Mike Pence didn't snub North Koreans deliberately, officials say

Kim Yo Jong's presence at the games is widely seen as part of a North Korean effort to push back against US attempts to use the Winter Olympics to draw attention to Pyongyang's poor human rights record, as well as the worldwide campaign to pressure the country to abandon its nuclear weapons program.

Pence carried a similar message during his trip to Japan and South Korea.

In stark contrast, two kinds of kimchi - the fermented cabbage that features in every Korean meal - were on the menu for lunch, a Blue House official told AFP, one mild Northern style version and a spicier Southern recipe.

North Korea's parade on Thursday was held to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the country's military, and featured hundreds of choreographed soldiers marching in formation, rows of missiles and lines of tanks. The United States fought with South Korea and maintains tens of thousands of troops and an "ironclad" agreement to protect its ally.

Almost 500 North Koreans have arrived in South Korea for the Olympics, which run until February 25.

He also made multiple comments on his plans to not allow North Korea to use the Olympics to spread propaganda.

"You know you can't trust the North Koreans, but I think we all hope that there will be some loosening of relationships where they get to talking", said Keep.

Only 22 will dress to play Saturday night, leaving Murray the hard task of deciding whether to play any of the North Koreans or sit some of the South Koreans she has worked with for many weeks.


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