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United Nations chief briefly meets N. Korea leader at Olympics

United Nations chief briefly meets N. Korea leader at Olympics

The parade, marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the North Korean army, was attended by leader Kim Jong Un and other senior officials.

North and South Koreans marching together under a unified peninsula flag gave Thomas Bach goosebumps, the International Olympic Committee president told Reuters on Saturday. The Koreas could potentially talk about a South Korean special envoy meeting Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang or even a summit between Moon and Kim.

"At a time like this when the United States and its followers are making such a fuss around the Korean peninsula, our military should remain on high alert and increase our preparedness to fight", he said in a speech delivered as North Korean cheerleaders paraded in...

South and North Korea technically remain at war, since the Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The North's KCNA news agency, reporting on a military parade in Pyongyang the previous day, introduced armed forces minister Kim Jong Gak as vice marshal and director of the military's General Political Bureau - a post previously held by Hwang.

Accepting North Korea's demand to transport more than 100 members of the art troupe by sea, South Korea treated the Mangyongbong-92 ferry as an exemption to the maritime sanctions it imposed on the North, a controversial move amid concerns that the North is trying to use the Olympics to poke holes in worldwide sanctions. North Korea's goal after the Olympics will be to stop this exercise completely.

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In December, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's offered to start talks with North Korea without pre-conditions, but the State Department later said there would first have to be a "period of calm" in which Pyongyang suspends testing before any negotiations could begin. The previous meetings came after rounds of global talks aimed at eliminating the North's nuclear program, which eventually failed. They were seated beside the Moons and next to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his wife.

Speaking to reporters on his flight home on Saturday, Pence said the United States, South Korea and Japan were in complete agreement on isolating North Korea over its nuclear weapons program. 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.

Just before the opening ceremony, Kim Yong Nam attended a dinner for visiting foreign dignitaries hosted by Moon. The North Korean delegation also included the country's 90-year-old head of state, Kim Yong Nam.

Under the 2015 deal between Japan and South Korea, reached by Abe and Moon's predecessor, Japan apologised to former "comfort women" and provided a 1 billion yen ($9 million) fund to help them.

The North has sent almost 500 people to the Pyeongchang Games, including officials, athletes, artists and also a 230-member state-trained cheering group after the Koreas agreed to a series of conciliatory gestures for the games.


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