Saturday, 22 September, 2018

Seoul City provides W1b for inter-Korean Olympic events

Hard road ahead for Olympics detente: analysts 2018 Winter Olympics: 229 North Korean Cheerleaders Steal The Show, Waving 'Unified Korea' Flags
Ellis Copeland | 15 February, 2018, 08:00

The North's state-owned Korean Central News Agency reported that Kim was impressed with Seoul's welcome and treatment of the high-level delegation.

Vice President Mike Pence's efforts to keep North Korea from stealing the show at the Winter Olympics proved short-lived, drowned out by images of the two Koreas marching and competing as one.

The Olympic rapprochement has seen Kim Yo Jong, acting as her brother's special envoy, invite Moon to a summit in Pyongyang on his behalf - an offer sidestepped by Seoul's leader, who said the "right conditions" were needed first.

North and South Korean leaders swapped warm handshakes and smiles at Friday's opening ceremony, enabling the International Olympic Committee to present the Games as enablers of peace and take the media spotlight away from a Russian doping scandal that has plagued it for years.

The IOC and the two Koreas signed a tripartite agreement on January 20 in Lausanne that set out the details of North Korea's Olympic participation, including the number of athletes, the sports they would take part in as well as their joint march.

It would be the first time a South Korean president has visited the North Korean capital city since 2007-and Kim's first meeting with a foreign head of state.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power previous year on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North and has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile program.

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The invitation, delivered by Mr. Kim's visiting sister Kim Yo-jong, said he was willing to meet the South's leader "at the earliest date possible", said a spokesperson for the presidential Blue House. Pence, who walked out of an National Football League game last October after players knelt during the anthem to protest police brutality, pointedly remained seated as the Korean team passed in front of him, prompting accusations of hypocrisy. Pence on the other hand, avoided interacting with the regime altogether.

Moon and Pence spoke Saturday while taking in the speedskating competition, but aides did not immediately say whether the invitation came up during the discussion.

The United States' position on dialogue with North Korea hasn't exactly been consistent. "North Korea is skilfully driving a wedge between the U.S., Japan and South Korea". But in the interim, the USA and allies would continue to pressure North Korea on denuclearization.

They shared the VIP box with world leaders at the opening ceremony and joined Moon in cheering for the first-ever inter-Korean Olympic team as it debuted in the women's ice hockey tournament. We have said, from the diplomatic side, we are ready to talk any time North Korea would like to talk.

But at least in his public commentary, he's been broadly supportive of Moon's diplomatic initiative, claiming that the "maximum pressure" strategy was what drove North Korea to engage with the South.

Kim Yo Jong's aloof expression when she wasn't meeting with high-ranking South Korean government officials and high-tilted chin prompted scorn from many South Koreans, who said she looked "too haughty" or "uppity".

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