Pence Says North Korea Must Give Up Nukes before Talks

Pence Says North Korea Must Give Up Nukes before Talks

Pence Says North Korea Must Give Up Nukes before Talks

Members of a delegation from North Korea, part of an extraordinary Olympics partnership between the two Korean rivals, watched from high in the stadium a performance called "The Land of Peace" and as past South Korean athletes paraded a large southern flag. The U.S. and Finland women's hockey teams also play Saturday.

On Saturday Kim Yo Jong "courteously" handed over a personal letter from the North Korean leader to Moon and told him of her brother's "intention", North Korea's state news agency KCNA said, without elaborating what that was.

Mr Pence has repeatedly said he would deliver a tough message to the North in any meeting. The ongoing rapprochement mood flared after Kim Jong Un said in his New Year's Day address that he was willing to send an Olympic delegation.

In barely a month since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un surprised the world and said his nation was ready to join the Games, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has delayed military exercises, feted Kim's sister at the Pyeongchang Olympics and given conditional consent to a bilateral summit in the North.

"This is the first time Mike Pence has been accused of being a snob", said an aide to the vice president, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the North Korean reports.

In October 2007, then South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun met with DPRK leader Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, marking the second summit between the two Koreas since 2000.

Vice President Mike Pence did not deliberately snub North Koreans at an Olympic reception, according to United States officials who pushed back on South Korean reports that Pence deliberately came late to a VIP gathering Friday evening and then snubbed officials from Pyongyang.

The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programme past year and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington.


The man dressed as Kim said he thought it was "really unfair" that they were forced to leave the ceremonies.

Pence spent the days leading up to the games warning that the North was trying to "hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games" with its "propaganda".

To pave the way for the North's participation at Pyeongchang, South Korea had delayed the annual exercises with USA forces, which usually take place between February and March, until after the Olympics.

"Pence sat in front row and talked to Moon and Abe and their spouses, and the North Koreans sat in the back and didn't talk to anybody, and that image is telling", the official added. Could they meet? That and other theories have engulfed South Korean media.

On his way to Asia earlier this week, the USA vice president told reporters he was not seeking direct talks with North Korean officials, "but we'll see what happens".

Moon is eager to use Kim's presence at the games to restore regular communication with North Korea and eventually pull it into nuclear talks.

He also did not shake hands with Kim Yong Nam while making a brief appearance at a leaders' reception ahead of the ceremony - although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is also regularly threatened by Pyongyang, did so, while exchanging pleasantries with the North Korean.

"Kim Jong Un is clearly serious about reviving talks with the South to improve relations", said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University and a security adviser to Moon.

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