Pence will use Olympics to push tougher stance on N. Korea

Pence will use Olympics to push tougher stance on N. Korea

Pence will use Olympics to push tougher stance on N. Korea

The Olympic flame has been lit and the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea are officially open.

President Trump and North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un stopped bragging about their respective nuclear buttons and crashed the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang - but, alas, it was all fake news. Luger Erin Hamlin carried the flag for the United States' delegation - a day after Shani Davis slammed the coin flip process that picked her.

Canada-based Ng will compete in the giant slalom and slalom in the alpine events, the first time Hong Kong has sent an athlete in the discipline after being represented exclusively by speed skaters at the four previous Winter Olympics.

REX  Shutterstock
REX Shutterstock

That continued state of high tension stood at odds with the optimism of International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach, who cheered the joint entry of Korean athletes to the opening ceremony as "a powerful message of peace to the world".

After meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Pence said there should be no consideration of using the Games as an opening for substantive talks with the North until its nuclear program is up for negotiations.

Competitors from North and South Korea entered under a single flag in a show of unity.

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South Korea has yet to announce a confirmed schedule for the North Korean delegates aside of their participation in the opening ceremony and tomorrow's luncheon with Moon.

Before training earlier this week, South Korean Kam Alex Kang Chan and North Korea's Kim Ju Sik used the same locker room and put on skates early so they had spare time together.

The practise has decreased steadily as the country has hosted more global events and younger South Koreans see it as taboo. North Korean TV only aired delayed footage when it usually broadcasts it live, perhaps an attempt to keep the parade low key.

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Jong, also 21, is one of 12 North Korean players who have joined the 23 South Koreans on the unified team.

China sent a 181-member delegation including 82 athletes, the biggest of its kind since the Vancouver Games. Kim Yo Jong is one of Kim Jong Un's closest confidants and is the first member of the Kim family to visit the South.

Pence has repeatedly left open the possibility of an encounter at the Games, but said the US had not requested a meeting. Think Lillehammer in 1994 - the last time the Games were this cold, too, which did not stop the delegation from Bermuda from marching Friday as ever, in shorts.

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