Sunday, 21 October, 2018

With military parade, Kim Jong Un thumbs nose at US

With military parade, Kim Jong Un thumbs nose at US With military parade, Kim Jong Un thumbs nose at US
Melinda Barton | 09 February, 2018, 05:58

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave a speech at the parade, touting the country's emergence as a "global military power" and calling for the military to be prepared to stop the United States from interfering with "the republic's sacred dignity and autonomy even by 0.001 millimeters", according to an Associated Press report.

Dressed in a long black winter coat and fedora, Kim could be seen at the beginning of the event walking on a red carpet with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, and Kim Yong Nam, the country's ceremonial head of state.

The South Korean president also said he wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity to launch a dialogue toward peace on the Korean Peninsula with the North.

Pence avoided public criticism of Moon, congratulating South Korea on hosting the games and pledging continued support in addressing the North's nuclear threat.

US Vice President Mike Pence arrived in the South Thursday and is also scheduled to attend the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang on Friday.

But in the event, just four Hwasong 15 inter-continental ballistic missile (ICBMs) - the North's biggest such weapon - on mobile transporters, were shown, with Kim looking on.

"Explicitly speaking, we have no intention to meet with the U.S. side during the stay in South Korea".

Adding further confusion to North Korea's mixed messaging - on the one hand, coming to the Olympics for a festival of sport and goodwill; on the other, staging a military parade the day prior - was the fact that the event commemorates the 70 anniversary of the founding of the nation's armed forces.

Apart from their official activities, it is unlikely the women will have much interaction with South Koreans or freedom to explore their surroundings.

"By sending key figures like his sister, Kim Jong Un is aiming to send a signal to the South that it is giving more weight to inter-Korean ties while driving a wedge between South Korea and the United States", said Kim Sung-han, a former South Korean vice foreign minister.

Asked if war with North Korea is closer than when Trump took office a year ago, Mattis said USA policy is "firmly in the diplomatic lane", as shown by agreement among world powers to increase sanctions.

The delegation will travel by plane on Friday, landing at Incheon airport near Seoul, the South's unification ministry said.

The U.S. VP stressed to President Moon and the South Korean people that the U.S. will stand shoulder to shoulder with its ally, South Korea, and work together towards a permanent and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea.

"The IOC [International Olympic Committee] will provide mobile phones to all athletes of all countries participating at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018". A North Korean Foreign Ministry official seemed to rule out a potential meeting with USA officials in the North's state-run media on Thursday, but Pence suggested to reporters that it was still a possibility. USA officials have grown increasingly dire in their warnings about the North's march toward developing an operational nuclear-tipped ballistic missile capable of reaching the continental U.S.

Vice-President Mike Pence arrived in South Korea on Thursday and met President Moon later in the day.