February 18, 2019

Kim Yo-jong meets South Korean president in Seoul as thaw continues

10 February 2018, 11:34 | Cameron Gross

Kim Yo Jong shakes hangs with Moon Jae In during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics opening ceremony. Reuters

Moon Jae In Kim Yo Song handhake

Hundreds of anti-North Korea protesters scuffled with riot police not far from the stadium before the opening ceremony began, with some banners reading "Moon regime is leading Korea to destruction".

The opening gala was attended by North Korean President Moon Jae-in and about 200 leaders from several countries and worldwide organizations.

The Opening Ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games was a spectacle to behold, but two notable individuals did not get to witness the pageantry.

And on Friday, before an awkward trilateral photo spray with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Moon and Pence at a welcome reception in Pyeongchang's Olympic village, Moon met with North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong Nam. US and Japanese press initially photographed the two without Moon.

"The feeling is that North Korea has already turned the Olympics into a propaganda victory for them and that it's more theatre than sport or politics now", he said.

The IOC had announced earlier Friday that it has chose to allow athletes from Iran and North Korea to receive the Olympic edition of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 after the Iranian government summoned the South Korean envoy to Tehran to lodge a formal complaint. 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.

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". The ICBM was successfully tested last November and analysts believe it to be capable of reaching the continental United States.

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

North Korea state media on Friday confirmed the sacking of the country's military chief Hwang Pyong So, after Southern reports said he had been fired for corruption.

"We've been told not to talk about nukes or missiles before we came here", Choi said.

U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is pushing South Korea to adopt a more hawkish stance toward North Korea, as he arrived in the country Thursday ahead of the Winter Olympics.

Mr Moon later officially declared the Olympics open, followed by a burst of fireworks.

North Korea conducted its largest nuclear test a year ago and said it had developed a missile capable of carrying a warhead to the United States.

A Japanese official praised Pence for his strong words and statesmanship but declined to comment on Mr. Moon's performance.

After the opening ceremony, the North Korean delegates moved to Seoul and spent the night at the Walkerhill hotel, a riverside facility named after late U.S. Army commander Walton Walker, who's considered a Korean War hero in the South.

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