North Korea has held a military parade attended by leader Kim Jong-un, a day before the opening of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, a BBC News report said on Thursday. So far, African American speed skater Shani Davis thinks he was unfairly passed up for the United States' flag-bearer role, and male figure skater Adam Rippon, who is the first "out" gay winter athlete, said he would avoid meeting with Vice President Mike Pence because of his position on gay marriage.
Pence declined to offer specifics on exactly what the new package of sanctions would consist of.
Analysts say that with the dual approach, the North is looking to normalise its status as a "de facto nuclear state", and could be trying to weaken sanctions against it or drive a wedge between the South and its ally the United States.
In his meeting with Pence, Moon again emphasized the need for talks with North Korea, saying that he hoped that the inter-Korean dialogue started by the North's participation in the Olympics would lead to broader talks on resolving the North Korean nuclear crisis, Yoon said.
Pence told reporters that despite disagreements over how to approach North Korea, the state of the alliance between the US and South Korea is "strong". While she is not subject to targeted sanctions by the U.N. Security Council, the propaganda and agitation department is blacklisted. A potential escalation of sanctions could be the US blacklisting Chinese banks accused of providing North Korea access to the worldwide financial system and facilitating sanctions evasion.
USA officials say they had long expected the North would seek to use the Olympics, taking place just 50 miles from the heavily mined Demilitarized Zone dividing the Koreas, as an opportunity to put a softer face on the regime, The Associated Press reported. At the same time, the vice president has deliberately left the door open to a possible encounter with North Korean officials expected to be in attendance. The trip's significance was underscored by the revelation Wednesday that the delegation would include Kim Yo Jong, the only sister and a trusted aide of Kim Jong Un, the North's supreme leader.
"I never imagined myself being here for one year and doing this", he said. He added that the policy is backed by "viable military options". "And we will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile program once and for all". He also participated in a briefing at Japan's Ministry of Defense on the threat. Abe added that the USA and Japan are "100 percent on the same page" on North Korean policy.
North Korea has no intention to meet USA officials during the Winter Olympics in the South, Pyongyang's state media has said, but did not rule it out.
And 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.