Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

S.Korea seeks understanding for breaking NK sanctions

Bitter cold affecting athletes, gear at Winter Olympics S.Korea seeks understanding for breaking NK sanctions
Troy Mann | 09 February, 2018, 01:52

Kim Yo Jong, 30, is part of North Korea's 23-member high-level delegation, led by the country's nominal administration head Kim Yong Nam, which will join the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games on Friday evening.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert later stressed there were no plans for Pence or his delegation to meet with North Korean leaders.

South Korean government officials had said last month that some 13,000 troops and 200 pieces of equipment had been spotted near an airport in Pyongyang in what appeared to be a rehearsal for the parade.

The more hawkish view is the North Koreans are taking a conciliatory stance to put pressure on the alliance between the USA and South Korea.

"North Korea is actively engaging in inter-Korean dialogue on the occasion of the Olympics".

The North Korean delegation will not be seeking a meeting with the USA on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

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Washington has been clear that it will not pander to any charm offensive by the North, which continues to develop nuclear weapons despite global punitive measures. Thursday's parade did include several intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) but was shorter than April's demonstration.

Because of her influence, the South Korean media calls her the North's Ivanka Trump.

During Vice President Mike Pence's stop in Japan on Wednesday, he told hundreds of US military personnel at Yokota Air Base that military action against North Korea remains a possibility.

Kim Yo Jong first appeared in public escorting her brother in 2014 and later held an official post in charge of national propaganda.

In meetings with government leaders, military officials and U.S. service members, he said he wants to make sure the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics do not distract from North Korean human rights abuses and nuclear programme. Kim then quickly rose to power, marking her seat in the Workers' Party's central committee in 2016.

Neither Kim Yo Jong nor Kim Yong Nam are among the North Korean officials blacklisted under United Nations sanctions over the North's weapons programmes, but the US Treasury Department previous year included Kim Yo Jong on its list of blacklisted officials over her position as vice director of the ruling Workers' Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department.

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