Winter Olympics: human drama amid the fireworks as Games get under way


The newspaper of North Korea's ruling party has given extensive coverage to Pyongyang's delegation to the South. Pence was seated during the joint march while South Korean President Moon Jae-in IOC President Thomas Bach and many world leaders gave standing ovations. Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe sat nearby, looking expressionless.

Kim is also dispatching his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to attend the opening ceremony.

Kim Jong Un tells his forces to keep a high level of combat readiness against the United States, flanked by his wife in a rare appearance. Kim Yo Jong, the 28-year-old sister of the North Korean leader, will be sitting in the same stadium as VIP guests along with ceremonial head of state She will be the first member of the Kim family to cross the border into the South. Kim Yo Jong is a propaganda official and was blacklisted last year by the U. S. Treasury Department over alleged human rights abuses and censorship.

As if to drive the point home, Kim Jong Un used the eve of the Olympics to throw a massive military parade in Pyongyang that was highlighted by several huge intercontinental ballistic missiles rolled out in launcher trucks.

The commentary says Washington is seeking to undermine the Olympics and subvert efforts to improve inter-Korean relations.

"Kim's proposal for a summit with Moon is based on the premise that the North will stick to its nuclear weapons while seeking rapprochement with the South", he told AFP.

"To that end, I'm announcing today the United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever".

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It is unclear whether the two high-ranking diplomats have engaged in conversation with eachother. As the head of North Korea's parliament, he became the most powerful North Korean to visit their southern neighbors in 65 years, per Telegraph. Jo Yong Sam, department director general of North Korea's foreign ministry, said Thursday the country had never "begged the USA for dialogue" and wasn't about to start now.

He has been making a major diplomatic push toward South Korea since he announced a last-minute proposal to send a delegation of athletes, officials and entertainers to the Pyeongchang games during his annual New Year's address. However, the U.S. Treasury Department previous year included on its list of blacklisted officials over her position as vice director of the ruling Workers' Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department.

Under the 2015 deal reached under Abe and Moon's predecessor, Japan apologized to former comfort women and provided a 1 billion yen ($9 million) fund to help them.

Moon has long argued for engagement with the North to bring it to the negotiating table over its nuclear ambitions, but did not immediately accept the offer.

He also ratcheted up his rhetoric on the North's human rights abuses in a speech to US service members at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

The PyeongChang Games mark the first time North and South Korea will compete as one at the Olympics, but Vice President Mike Pence apparently did not deem the moment worthy of applause.

While the main organiser of the Olympics said the display would not affect the "dynamics" of the event, the United States had said it would prefer the North did not go ahead with it. Japan's Abe, whose nation has been within range of North Korean missiles for decades, will also attend the ceremony, adding to seating complications for hosts asked the on Wednesday for an exemption to allow a U.