Published: Fri, February 09, 2018

NK first lady, top military, party grandees attend military parade

NK first lady, top military, party grandees attend military parade

Kim Yo-jong and Kim Yong-nam will visit the South on Friday for a three-day visit as part of a high-level delegation to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympics here. With determined rhetoric - and the promise of more "aggressive" economic sanctions against the North - Pence is looking to refocus American allies on the North Korean threat.

Kim Yo Jong has been an increasingly prominent figure in North Korea's leadership and is considered one of the few people who has earned Kim Jong Un's absolute trust.

Both leaders agreed that any strategy that might lead to pressure being eased on Pyongyang is a non-starter until which point it gives up its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes in a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" manner.

He also said Pyongyang would not be allowed to "hijack" the Games in Pyeongchang to distract the world from its military build-up and nuclear weapons programmes.

Aides say the vice president is advancing a counter message, using the games as an opportunity for the South and the broader global community to exert what President Donald Trump has termed "maximum pressure" against the North.

On Wednesday, Pence announced Washington would soon impose the "toughest" sanctions yet against the "rogue regime" in North Korea. He'll bring to the games the father of Otto Warmbier, the USA student who died in 2017 shortly after he was released from North Korean detention.

In Japan, he will meet with Prime Minster Shinzo Abe and US service members. Pence emphasized the need for "free and fair trade". "President Trump has said he always believes in talking, but I haven't requested any meeting", he said.

Her presence, along with North Korea's formal head of state Kim Yong Nam, opened up the possibility of informal talks with U.S. officials. A potential escalation of sanctions could be the USA blacklisting Chinese banks accused of providing North Korea access to the worldwide financial system and facilitating sanctions evasion. -North Korea tensions. Officials say Pence will be holding symbolic events of his own to highlight the North's human rights abuses and nuclear ambitions.

A day before the opening ceremony of the games, tens of thousands of North Korean soldiers marched Thursday in Kim Il Sung Square in the country's capital along with trucks mounted with rocket launchers to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its military.

In this April 17, 2017, file photo, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence looks at the North side from Observation Post Ouellette in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), near the truce village of Panmunjom, which has separated the two Koreas since the Korean War, in South Korea. He added that the policy is backed by "viable military options". In Japan, Pence watched Japanese troops demonstrate the simulated deployment of Japan's surface-to-air missile defense system, which would attempt to intercept a North Korean missile.

Pence is taking the father of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died a year ago after being imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months. Abe added that the US and Japan are "100 percent on the same page" on North Korean policy.

Pence's personal guest at the games will be Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American who died a year ago days after his release from captivity in North Korea. Tomorrow morning he is due to meet with North Korean defectors as he visits a memorial in Seoul to the sailors of the Cheonan, a South Korean corvette allegedly sunk by North Korea.

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