Electronics

Two Koreas' Single Bloc Closes Athletes' Parade in PyeongChang

Two Koreas' Single Bloc Closes Athletes' Parade in PyeongChang

Privately, many are seething at a trip that does nothing to advance their efforts to force Pyongyang to release their loved ones and, instead, they believe serves to effectively legitimise South Korean efforts to cosy up to Kim Jong-un's regime.

Usually held in April, the parade took place this year on the eve of the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics being staged in the South Korean mountain resort of Pyeongchang, just across the heavily fortified border.

The invitation to visit Pyongyang at the "earliest date" was delivered by Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong, the Yonhap news agency reported citing presidential administration.

While Mr. Moon and Japanese Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, both shook hands with Mr. Kim, Mr. Pence did not, South Korean officials said. 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.

A spokesperson for the vice president said that Pence did not come across the North Korean delegation during the reception.

He is congratulating South Korea on hosting the games and pledges continued US support to address the North's nuclear threat.

Pence also attended the Games opening ceremony but had no contact with the North Korean delegation.

In Washington, China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi told Trump that China hoped it and the United States could increase their coordination on the North Korea issue.

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The recent detente, anchored by South Korea's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games that began on Friday, came despite an acceleration in the North's weapons programs a year ago and pressure from Seoul's allies in Washington. It has only deepened over the years as the North closes in on the ability to field an arsenal of nukes that can hit USA cities.

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in South Korea, looking to push the US ally to adopt a more hawkish stance toward North Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics.

Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee and a German who has spoken of his experience coming from a divided country, said that having a joint Korean team sent "a powerful message of peace to the world".

According to press reports, White House strategists have argued that "limited strike on a missile launch site or other select targets" might convince North Korea about the seriousness of U.S. intent and discourage further escalation.

A Japanese official praised Pence for his strong words and statesmanship but declined to comment on Mr. Moon's performance.

But the pinnacle of Pence's messaging was at the opening ceremony itself, where his personal guest was the father of American student Otto Warmbier, who died previous year after being returned home in a coma after his 17-month detention in North Korea.

Pence warned that the world would see "a charm offensive by North Korea" on Friday.

US Vice-President Mike Pence sat stone-faced as the crowd erupted in cheers for the unified Korean team.


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