Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

TheDC Newsroom: Winter Olympics Are Heating Up

VP Pence, President Moon and Kim Yo Jung Seated at Pyeong Chang Olympic Games VP Pence, President Moon and Kim Yo Jung Seated at Pyeong Chang Olympic Games
Andrew Cummings | 09 February, 2018, 04:56

"I think Vice President Pence actually has a very important, delicate mission in South Korea as the Olympics open, to show that we're sticking with South Korea and Japan", he said.

Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korea's leader and a senior member of the Workers' Party, will be part of the delegation due to arrive on Friday.

Each wore a stunning red coat with matching fur hats, collars and cuffs.

Some observers in South Korea have suggested the North has embedded security agents in its IOC-accredited delegation by giving them positions as officials or journalists.

U.S. President Donald Trump was credited by South Korean officials with spurring the talks through his tough stance on the communist North.

Diplomatic sources cited by CNN said there is a "good chance" that Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will invite the South Korean president Moon Jae-in to North Korea.

"We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region", Pence said Wednesday after meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo.

Members of delegations are also carefully screened by North Korea.

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North Korea held a military parade and rally on Kim Il Sung Square on February 8, just one day before South Korea holds the opening ceremony for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Pence told reporters that part of the goal of his visit was to tell "the truth about North Korea at every stop".

"We have never begged for dialogue with the United States and will be the same in the future", Cho Yong-sam, a director of the North's Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.

She was placed on the U.S. Treasury's specially designated nationals list in January 2017 because of human rights abuses.

"We are not going to use such a sports festival as the Winter Olympics as a political lever", the official reportedly said.

The concert takes place a day ahead of the Pyeongchang Olympics opening ceremony, where the two Koreas will march together under the blue-and-white Korean unification flag. "Those who dare raise their voices in dissent are imprisoned, tortured and even murdered, and their children and grandchildren are routinely punished for their family's sins against the state".

Pence's personal guest at the games will be Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American who died previous year days after his release from captivity in North Korea.

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