Mattis says North Korea can't drive wedge between South, US

Mattis says North Korea can't drive wedge between South, US

Mattis says North Korea can't drive wedge between South, US

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday held a meeting with top North Korean officials, including the country's ceremonial head and leader Kim Jong-un's sister, a media report said.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in dismissed a call by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to quickly resume the US-South Korea joint military exercises, an official said on Saturday.

Kim sent his sister Kim Yo Jong and Vice President Pence was also in attendance as part of the USA delegation. A Blue House official initially said the president had accepted Kim's offer, but that was later denied by chief spokesman Yoon Young-chan.

Kim Yo Jong told Moon that relations would improve quickly once he meets with her brother. How much of a game changer would this meeting be if ever took place?

North Korea has sent a delegation of 22 athletes to compete in five disciplines, with their women's ice hockey players to compete in a unified Korean team.

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Eastern Ghouta is supposed to be one of four " de-escalation zones " declared previous year in a bid to reduce the bloodshed. The military said that 36 targets were destroyed on the 22nd day of Operation Olive Branch, killing 79 "terrorists".

Earlier this week, the US announced plans to impose its most stringent sanctions yet against North Korea, which held a large military parade featuring intercontinental ballistic missiles just one day before the games began.

At a Friday VIP reception for delegation leaders, Pence arrived late and stayed for just five minutes - and did not interact with the delegation from the North.

Pence did not directly address news of the invitation when asked.

Neither the real Trump nor the real Kim Jong-un attended the Winter Olympics opening ceremony but delegations from both countries were present.

The apparent thaw has not been reflected in Washington, however.

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Meanwhile, the USA media were having a field day of gay athletes protesting Vice President Pence, because he respectfully disagrees with homosexuality based on his Christian beliefs.

Pence, who is leading the United States delegation to the Olympics, has accused Pyongyang of using the event for its own ends. His office said he did not interact with the North Koreans.

The United States insisted it would continue its policy of exerting global pressure on North Korea in an effort to get it to abandon its nuclear program.

"The Vice President is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions", said Pence's spokeswoman, Alyssa Farah.

"Always stay healthy and please come and visit Pyongyang with President Moon", Kim Yo Jong told South Korea's First Lady Kim Jung-sook after the show ended. The US insists that North Korea has to commit to the denuclearization and be willing to talk about denuclearization before any direct talk can happen.

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