Moon rejects Abe's request to resume US-S. Korea military drills

11 February, 2018, 05:42 | Author: Wade Massey

The North's 22-member delegation, which includes ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, will attend the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday evening and meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

"The vice-president is grateful that President Moon reaffirmed his strong commitment to the global maximum pressure campaign and for his support for continued sanctions", Pence spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said when asked about the development.

Moon also met him at a reception as well as the opening ceremony on Friday and a meeting earlier Saturday at the presidential office.

The skepticism was highlighted when U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Friday urged Pyongyang to "permanently" abandon its nuclear aspirations, saying, "We don't want to repeat the mistakes of the past".

"We can say that the North went all-in previous year to complete its nuclear armament, now it seems to be moving toward to make efforts to improve inter-Korean relations", he said. During the parade of nations, they stood only for the US team.

"Right now, when there seems to be a relative calm and there are signs that Pyongyang and Seoul will continue direct dialogue at the political level, the U.S. side is opposing and in fact demonstrates a lack of interest in ensuring that these processes of forging an exchange of views between the north and the south in the Korean peninsula continue", Ryabkov told RIA.

Smiling, he shook hands with each of the delegates ahead of their talks, and television footage showed that Kim Yo Jong - who analysts expected to bring a personal message from her brother - was carrying a blue folder emblazoned with a seal.

No Olympic truce for US, North Korea in Pyeongchang
A massive military parade in Pyongyang on the eve of the just-opened Pyeongchang Games has been used as Exhibit A by skeptics. Moon has invited Kim and other senior North Korean officials to a luncheon at Seoul's presidential palace on Saturday.

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Kim Yo-jong meets South Korean president in Seoul as thaw continues
Her presence overshadowed the nominal head of the delegation, Kim Yong Nam, the aging head of the North Korean Parliament. The two Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.

The downside for Washington is that it could expose growing differences with Seoul on the best way to deal with North Korea and achieve the ultimate goal of denuclearization.

North Korea's surprise proposal for an inter-Korean summit will pave the way for a dramatic advancement in bilateral ties, but its prospects hinge on future progress in the nuclear stand-off and an improvement in relations with the United States, experts said.

The officials, who spoke on condition because they were not authorized to discuss the USA approach publicly, also denied that Pence had been blindsided by the seating arrangement - with the North Koreans in the row behind him, allowing Kim Yo Jong to be easily pictured in profile next to the vice-president.

Kim Yo-jong, who wears multiple hats in the North Korean government, arrived here on a private jet as part of a high-level government delegation to the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games. They stressed the North Koreans in the VIP box had watched Pence, Moon and Abe hold a running discussion in the front row for the more than two-hour ceremonies.

From the detonation of its hydrogen bomb to test firing an ICBM, North Korea's Kim Jong-un has dictated the course and pace of the crisis.

Moon has expressed his intention to use the Winter Olympics as a chance to make diplomatic inroads with the North and restore normalized communications, following months of high tensions on the Peninsula.

She smiled brightly as she was greeted by South Korean officials led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon at a meeting room at Incheon International Airport.


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