Published: Mon, February 12, 2018

Amid Olympic Détente, Pence Snubs North Koreans In Visit To Pyeongchang

Amid Olympic Détente, Pence Snubs North Koreans In Visit To Pyeongchang

Pence continued his tough rhetoric even after South Korean officials announced North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had invited President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang for talks.

Lim, 45, said she hates North Koreans and considers those who came to South Korea for the Olympics to be Kim's "puppets".

South Korea says North Korea has withdrawn a request that the South provide fuel to a North Korean ferry that transported more than a 100 artists for performances marking the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

But Moon, a liberal who has always wanted to engage the North, will also have to convince a good portion of his own people who are deeply wary about North Korean intentions. Moon shared details with Pence of his meeting with North Korean leaders, but did not talk about the invitation to talks in Pyongyang.

Moon responded to the invitation by suggesting the two countries "should accomplish this by creating the right conditions", adding that talks between North Korea and the United States were also needed, and requested that North Korea be more active in talking with the U.S., according to Kim Eui-kyeom. It has only deepened over the years as the North closes in on the ability to field an arsenal of nukes that can hit US cities.

About 500 North Koreans are temporarily staying in South Korea as part of their country's participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics, the largest presence of its kind since the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

More recently, however, the North and South have come to see worldwide sporting events as a chance to defuse tensions, including the current standoff over North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

South Korea treated the ferry as an exception to maritime sanctions it imposed on the North so it could transport the artists to the South.

It's a different picture three decades later, as South Korea prepares to host its second Olympics. It has argued that yielding to dialogue on North Korea's terms would effectively equal accepting it as a nuclear power.

Protesters march in downtown Seoul to criticize North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in who they believe is too soft on Pyongyang on Feb. 10 2018

Past "charm offensives" have been interpreted as North Korea trying to recoup from crippling sanctions on their nuclear program, or trying to drive a wedge between Seoul and its US ally.

But previous meetings between the divided Korea's leaders failed to shut down the North's weapons programs.

"With a smile, a handshake and a warm message in South Korea's presidential guest book, Kim Yo Jong has struck a chord with the public just one day into the Pyeongchang Games", the story read.

Washington calls it a campaign of "maximum pressure". He criticized the Trump administration for straining too hard to signal disgust of Kim Jong Un's government.

Though possibly best known for their legions of goose-stepping troops, North Korean military parades are the country's primary means of showing off its most recent advances in military technology - sometimes with aspirational mock-ups.

At the opening ceremonies Friday, Pence sat stone-faced in his seat as Moon and North Korean officials stood together with much of the stadium to applaud their joint team of athletes.

The sister of the North Korean leader has arrived in South Korea, dressed in a black coat and absorbing a barrage of camera flashes.

"The 23rd Winter Olympics opened in Phyongchang of south Korea", KCNA wrote in English, using an alternate spelling for the Olympic city and, notably, the lower-case "south" — a style it uses to show it does not endorse the names "South Korea" and "North Korea".

In losing to Switzerland 8-0 in their opening game of the women's ice hockey tournament at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the joint Korean team got pushed around from start to finish while managing just eight shots on net.


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