Monday, 17 December, 2018

Pence: 'No daylight' between U.S., allies on North Korea

Huge military parade in Pyongyang on February 8 Spoiler alert: What to expect when you watch the Winter Olympics' opening ceremony
Rita Gibson | 12 February, 2018, 05:58

Kim appears to have chose to approach South Korea first, and leverage the link with Seoul to bring about talks with Washington. Kim Yo Jong is 28 years old, according to the US government.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in dismissed a call by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to quickly resume the US-South Korea joint military exercises, an official said on Saturday.

Pence's tweeted day-after position: "The U.S. will not allow the propaganda charade by the North Korean regime to go unchallenged on the world stage".

The media certainly noticed them but it is unclear if Kim Jong-un's sister saw them.

A big one could be a demand to cease the US-South Korean war games that North Korea claims are preparation for invasion. Before now, she had been seen mainly in photos, but often in the background, as her brother took center stage.

"There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program", Pence told reporters during the return flight to the United States.

Other members of the North's high-level delegation will be present for the concert, including the North's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam.

Eager to put a reality check on the thaw in relations, Pence will meet Friday morning with North Korean defectors and pay respects at the Cheonan Memorial in Seoul, which honors the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack attributed to the North.

Watch the unbelievable North Korean cheerleaders at work
In the longer term, Kim appears to hope that he can convince the global community that it can co-exist with a nuclear North Korea. They then posed for a team photo with the players sitting or kneeling on the ice and the dignitaries behind them on the bench.

Kim Yo Jong is the first immediate relative of a North Korean leader to visit South Korea.

Moon has not yet accepted the invitation from Kim Yo Jong, although he has said before he'd be willing to visit if it would help end the North's pursuit of nuclear weapons and its decades of hostility and threats against the South.

And Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency focussed on the team and the North Korean cheerleaders rather than the 8-0 defeat - mentioning neither the outcome nor the score in its dispatch.

A man impersonating US President Donald Trump and a man impersonating North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un showed up at the Winter Olympics opening ceremony.

Kim Jong-un handed a personal invitation to South Korean President Moon Jae-in to visit the DPRK. After the game, the entire group walked around to the Koreans' bench to greet them and pose for photos.

I think, both North and South Koreans view these Winter Games as a flawless opportunity to thaw their relations and improve their ties. It's too early to tell (although skeptics are already shaking their heads at all of the above).

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have worsened over the past year, as North Korea has continued to develop its nuclear capabilities. It's anyone's guess as to when we might learn what's behind the facade.

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