Kim tensions shadow Olympics

Kim tensions shadow Olympics

Kim tensions shadow Olympics

In order to placate Trump, who is known for his weakness for flattery, South Korean president Moon Jae-in lowered expectations about the thaw and publicly announced that North's willingness to participate in the Olympics is "the result of US-led sanctions and pressure".

Vice President Mike Pence did not deliberately snub North Koreans at an Olympic reception, according to USA 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. Pence's trip began in Japan, stopped in Seoul, and culminated with his visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

The South Koreans want to use the Olympics to ease tensions spurred by North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The Moons, Nam and Kim all stood again as athletes from both Koreas marched together behind a blue-and-white "unification" flag for the first time since 2007.

Moon Jae In Mike Pence and Kim Yo Jong were just a few seats apart. Getty Images Business Insider

But privately, officials said Pence expressed concern to Moon about his more conciliatory tone toward North Korea.

Kim Yo Jong arrived in South Korea on Friday with Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state, for the opening ceremony in the alpine town of Pyeongchang.

"President Moon said that US-North Korea talks need to be held soon for the development of inter-Korean relations". He'd been dispatched from Washington for the Olympics in part, he said, to make sure the world didn't forget that North Korea was a misbehaving and unsafe neighbor in the community of nations.

Kim Yo-jong, Kim Jong-un's younger sister, was on hand for the ceremonies. That agreement, made under former President Park Geun-hye, was meant to "settle" the issue "finally and irreversibly" in exchange for around 9 million USA dollars.

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"As we speak, an estimated 100,000 North Korean citizens labour in modern-day gulags", Pence said.

The North Korean delegates later Saturday may attend the debut of the first-ever inter-Korean Olympic team at the women's ice hockey tournament in Gangneung.

"We thought it was important to make sure that the truth was told", Pence said at the meeting with the defectors.

Military and civilian experts have, however, warned against such a gamble given that North Korea retains massive conventional firepower to level Seoul and kill millions, including around 28,000 United States servicemen, in retaliation.

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He said the United States would take whatever "action is necessary to defend our homeland" against the North Korean nuclear threat, according to an interview with NBC.

Pence will meet Friday morning with North Korean defectors as he pays respects at the Cheonan Memorial in Seoul, which honours 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 boat sinking attributed to the North.

"President Moon and I reflected last night on the need to do something fundamentally different", Mr. Pence said.

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