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12 February 2018, 05:37 | Dale Webster
USA to Unveil 'Toughest, Most Aggressive Ever' Sanctions against North Korea: Pence
Moon was all smiles as he greeted Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Kim Yong Nam, the country's 90-year-old nominal head of state, for lunch at the presidential residence.
Pence is leading the USA delegation to the opening ceremonies, where he has worked to pour cold water on warming ties between the two Koreas.
It drew global attention for featuring players from both North and South Korea, who wore white jerseys with an image of a united Korean peninsula emblazoned in pale blue. The tragic and downright horrific story of that vessel, and an inside scoop I have on the inter-Korean hockey team, represent my labors for today.
A pair of impersonators played the roles of the rivals, surprising visitors to South Korea and becoming internet celebrities by the time they appeared at the opening ceremony.
"We should firmly keep in mind that any talks where denuclearization is not a precondition only buy North Korea more time to complete its nuclear capabilities while they fool us with their peace offensive façade", said Chang Je-won, spokesman for the Liberty Korea Party.
Accepting North Korea's demand to transport more than 100 members of the art troupe by sea, South Korea treated the Mangyongbong-92 ferry as an exemption to the maritime sanctions it imposed on the North, a controversial move amid concerns that the North is trying to use the Olympics to poke holes in worldwide sanctions.
A senior United States government official says that Moon urged Pence to meet with the North Korean delegation, but Pence left the Olympic venue without doing so.
"Pence must know that his frantic acts of abusing the sacred Olympics for confrontational ruckus are as foolish and stupid an act as sweeping the sea with a broom", the North's state-run Korean Central News Agency said in a commentary published Saturday.
In reply, Moon said he can not visit North Korea until the North resumes talks with the United States.
The North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92 arrived in the South carrying the performers on Tuesday and also served as their accommodation during their stay in Gangneung. Moon and Abe met Friday hours before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Since diplomatic efforts are "almost zero", sources said this may signal a "calm before the storm", with North Korea quietly preparing its next moves for after the Olympics.
Moon Jae-in must now walk a fine diplomatic line as he tries to encourage North Korea's new interest in dialogue without straying too far from the "maximum pressure" approach championed by the United States, South Korea's military ally.
Moon shook hands with Kim's sister at the presidential Blue House in Seoul.
Kim Yong Nam on Friday took a picture with Moon and his wife Kim Jung-sook before entering the reception room.
So, I will go out on a limb and make a prediction here: If and when Moon meets Kim, a South Korean taekwondo team may well accompany him for goodwill demonstrations in North Korea.
North Korea's Jong had one of the team's eight shots on the night.
Many experts say Kim's overture is meant to use improved ties with Seoul as a way to weaken US -led worldwide sanctions toughened after its series of big weapons tests past year that include its sixth and largest nuclear test explosion and three intercontinental ballistic missile launches.
Yo-jong's visit to the South was the first visit by a member of the ruling Kim family ever since the Korean War ended in 1953.
"This is the strongest action yet by North Korea to drive a wedge between the South and the United States", said Kim Sung-han, a former South Korean vice foreign minister and now a professor at Korea University in Seoul.Moon asked the North Korean delegation during Saturday's meeting to more actively seek dialogue with the United States, saying that "early resumption of dialogue (between the two) is absolutely necessary for developments in the inter-Korean relations as well", the South said.
Participants from the South Korean side were Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, Culture, Sports and Tourism Minister Do Jong-hwan and 10 other government, parliamentary officials and experts.
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N.Korea extends invitation to South
The North initially had no athletes coming to the Olympics, but the International Olympic Committee allowed 22 as special entries. So calling for unification during cross-border talks at Panmunjom or even forming a united Korean sports team is only symbolic.
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Kim Jong Un's sister met with South Korea's president
It marked the first time in eight and a half years that a ranking DPRK delegation visited South Korea's presidential complex. Pence and the North Korean delegation sat near each other at the ceremony but did not acknowledge or speak to each other.
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