Pence in Japan to boost pressure on North Korea

Pence in Japan to boost pressure on North Korea

Pence in Japan to boost pressure on North Korea

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that the U.S.is preparing to announce the "toughest and most aggressive" economic sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

A South Korean figure skating pair competing in the Winter Olympics will perform to a popular Korean folk ballad with a couple of words cut to avoid offending Japan over a reference to disputed islands, South Korean officials said on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, Pence echoed comments made by Trump during the US President's address to the South Korean Assembly last November. He'll hold symbolic events of his own to highlight the North's human rights abuses and nuclear ambitions, according to White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to preview the trip publicly.

Pence has voiced scepticism that the North Korea will use the Games for crude propaganda.

Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was jailed in North Korea and died a year ago after returning to the United States in a coma, will be Pence's designated special guest at the opening ceremony.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is planning to send his sister as part of a high-level delegation to the Olympics on Friday, which would make her the first member of the ruling family to visit the South since the 1950-53 Korean War. In Korea, Pence will visit a memorial to the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack attributed to the North, and hold meetings with President Moon Jae-in.

The Olympics have become heavily politicised as Mr Kim suggested that the North send a delegation to the Games in the South Korean city of...

Members of a conservative civic group attend an anti-North Korea protest at a port in Donghae. The U.S. vice president is stopping by, too. And North Korea has a history of doctoring images it releases to the world. The plan centers around rallying the global community to further isolate North Korea both diplomatically and economically.


"North Korea is notorious for waging peace offensives after tensions", said Duyeon Kim, a fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum.

North Korea boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Olympics, both in Seoul, during a period of heightened tensions.

"That is an important message for the North Koreans to understand. It may give some warm and fuzzy feelings, but it's a matter of time before the military drills resume and the North Koreans react, and we'll be back to square one by the summer".

South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympics has shone a spotlight once again on the North - who are fielding a modest team of 22.

Also in the delegation will be Ri Son-Gwon, who as head of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country is the equivalent of the South's unification minister, responsible for inter-Korean affairs. With the Trump administration touting a purported harder line against the North than the Obama administration - and Donald Trump himself trading insults with Kim Jong Un - there's little chance that Washington, which doesn't have formal diplomatic relations with the North, will approve a meeting.

When discussing the likelihood of war on the peninsula, Kim said, "If a military confrontation between the U.S. and North Korea occurs, then the North is likely to retaliate by striking the South".

Nonproliferation experts said during Thursday's parade it's possible Pyongyang could show some mock-ups of their newer technology, like a new long-range, solid-fueled ballistic missile. "We'll be there to cheer our athletes, but we'll also be there to stand with our allies, and remind the world that North Korea is the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet".

But the ferry hasn't always been associated with fun and athletic games. The vice president is on his way to Japan and then South Korea for the Winter Olympics. They were imposed as part of efforts to punish the regime for its banned nuclear weapons program.

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