Mattis: North Korea can not drive wedge between the USA and South Korea
12 February, 2018, 16:27 | Author: Heidi Alvarez
Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) top leader Kim Jong Un, sat next to Republic of Korea (ROK) President Moon Jae-in at a concert by the Samjiyon Orchestra from Pyongyang on Sunday in Seoul.
Moon did not immediately accept the invitation but said he hopes the "right conditions" will be created so it can go ahead.
Analysts say the North's decision to shows an ambition to break out from diplomatic isolation and pressure by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States.
"I don't think there is much to expect in the inter-Korean relations unless there is improvement in relations between North Korea and the United States", said Kim Yong Hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.
A White House spokesman added that Mr Moon had told Mr Pence no one would take pressure off North Korea until it takes steps to denuclearisation.
Still, the United States has a huge influence on talks of how to handle the North's threats of nuclear attacks.
"We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games", he said in Japan earlier this week.
The North Korean delegation's visit to South Korea was the first trip since August 2009, when a high-level North Korean delegation attended the funeral of former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung, who held the first-ever inter-Korean summit with then North Korean leader late Kim Jong-il in 2000.
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US Vice President Mike Pence said Washington is open to entering into direct negotiations wth Pyongyang.
During Saturday's meeting, the North Korean leader's sister, in her capacity as special envoy for her brother, invited the South Korean chief executive to visit the North. The rhetoric war between North Korea and the Trump administration hasn't skipped a beat in Pyeongchang.
As part of the agreement, the two Koreas marched together under a unified flag in the opening ceremony on Friday and formed a joint women's ice hockey team. And if it were up to her, the joint Korean team would be given the Nobel Peace Prize for coming together while the two nations are still technically at war.
President Donald Trump tweeted his congratulations to South Korea for playing host a day before the Games began, but had been silent on the topic since.
The communist state has test-fired numerous missiles, including three ICBMs in recent months, and conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test September 3, prompting the U.N. Security Council to impose its toughest sanctions yet in a bid to get the North to stop.
Even a small gesture of respect, the source said, could have led to a diplomatic opening between North Korea and the U.S. that would have helped to increase trust between the two countries.
Also, North Korea sent its own cheerleader squad and an art troupe who are scheduled to perform in the Pyeongchang Winter Games.
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North Korea's state media also sharply criticized Pence. "Kim Yo Jong's power exists because of proximity to the leader himself". Later, he skipped a formal dinner at which he was due to share a table with North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam.
But North Korea's record on human rights and the growing threat from its nuclear weapons program appeared out of mind. Pence said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea.
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He is also reportedly seeking legal protection for his family and other associates who have been involved in controversial deals. A senior ANC source told Reuters that the executive committee would meet at 2 pm (1200 GMT) in Pretoria on Monday.
But conservatives in the South are furious at the initiative, accusing President Moon Jae-in of being a North Korean sympathiser. Hoping to discern what she's thinking, analysts pored over video of her eyes, and remarked on the tilt of her chin.
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It warned against agreeing to talks before North Korea scrapped its nuclear program, saying it would only "benefit the enemy". While South Korea hasn't suspended the joint military exercises, it has agreed to delay them this year.
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