South Korean president to meet North Korean leader's sister

South Korean president to meet North Korean leader's sister

The opening ceremony's potentially awkward seating arrangement comes after a decades-long dispute between the United States and North Korea, which has intensified as Kim Jong-un continues to build his nuclear arsenal in defiance of global sanctions.

On Wednesday in Washington, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis declined to comment on whether Vice President Mike Pence will meet with North Korean officials during the Olympics, but he also did not rule out the possibility.

Says Pence: "The United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever - and we will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs once and for all".

"With regard to any interaction with the North Korean delegation, I have not requested a meeting, but we'll see what happens", Pence told reporters in Japan.

The ceremony was held on Thursday morning in the city of Gangneung for North Korean athletes taking part in the Winter Games opening on Friday.

"She could deliver a message from Kim Jong-un in a way that conveys personal seriousness and commitment that even Kim Yong Nam couldn't", Andray Abrahamian, a research fellow at Pacific Forum CSIS in Hawaii, told Reuters.

Washington has stepped up its anti-Pyongyang rhetoric while North Korea has been trying to use the Olympics as an opportunity to ease tensions with South Korea.

And there is no prospect that Kim Yo Jong, who will attend the Olympics this weekend, will cross paths with US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, who will attend the closing ceremony a fortnight later.

When Kim Jong Un delivered his New Year's address, the USA and South Korea heard it very differently. And when did she first appear on the North Korean stage?

Another delegation member, sports official Choe Hwi, could present a diplomatic headache as he is subject to a travel ban under United Nations sanctions.

South Korean President Moon is hoping to translate the Olympic cooperation into deeper engagement with Pyongyang.

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On Monday, the House intelligence Committee voted to allow the release the Democrats assessment of that evidence. A controversial Republican intelligence memo released last week highlighted that Page had been targeted.

"Not everyone gets to see it", said Kim Mi-sook, who came to the concert with her husband.

It remains unclear whether Choe and Ri will attend, however, an official at the Blue House said in a statement carried by South Korean media.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products. But North Korea fiercely rejected the accusations, defending its right to celebrate its military.

Pyongyang on Monday informed Seoul that Kim Yong Nam, the highest-level North Korean official among those traveling to the South, would be its chief delegate to the PyeongChang Olympics.

Pence's personal guest at the games will be Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American who died past year days after his release from captivity in North Korea.

"We'll be ensuring that whatever cooperation that's existing between North and South Korea today on Olympic teams does not cloud the reality of a regime that must continue to be isolated by the world community".

On Friday, before he attends the Olympic opening ceremony, he will visit a memorial for 46 South Korean sailors killed in 2010 in the sinking of a warship that Seoul blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.

Abe said the two countries agreed they could "never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea".

Believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s, Kim Yo Jong is thought to be one of Kim Jong Un's closest confidants.

It was the first direct South Korean flight to North Korea since 2015, when South Korean labor unionists flew to Pyongyang for a goodwill soccer match.

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