North Korea denies talks planned with US official, holds military parade, a day to Winter Olympic Games
Feb 08, 2018 World 1 2855 By Jason Ade
North Koera has reiterated its stance that it has no plans to discuss with US officials during the Winter Olympics Games in South Korea which starts on Friday. According to the state news media agency, the director-general of the North American department of North Korea’s foreign ministry, Jo Yong Sam, is quoted saying “We have never
begged for dialogue with the U.S. nor in the future, too,”
“Explicitly speaking, we have no intention to meet with the U.S. side during the stay in South Korea ... Our delegation’s visit to South Korea is only to take part in the Olympics and hail its successful holding.”
Kim Jong un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, was on Wednesday announced, will join the North Korea's Olympic delegation led by ceremonial Head of State, Kim Yong-nam. They are expected to arrive on Friday. She was blacklisted by the US Treasury Department for alleged human right abuse and censorship last year.
South Korea hopes to use the games, which will see both Korean nation march under one flag during the opening ceremony, to reopen dialogue with their North counterparts to resolve the strained and turbulent relationship North Korea has with several other countries, most especially the US. They also asked the UN for an exemption to allow a UN sanctioned North Korean official, Chow Hwi, to attend the opening ceremony with the rest North Korea's delegation.
US Vice president, Mike Pence will also be attending the opening ceremony. Mr Pence said he wanted to make sure the "games is not used by North Korea as powerful symbolism to paper over the truth about their regime."
The US Vice president, while visitng Japan's Prime minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday, promised that the "toughest and most aggressive" economic sanctions on North Korea will soon be revealed. He also added that the United States were not seeking to hold talks with Pyongyang but did not deny the possibilty of some form of contact.
“if I have any contact with them, in any context, over the next two days, my message will be the same as it was here today: North Korea needs to, once and for all, abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile ambition,” Pence told reporters as he left Japan.
North Korea had its military parade to mark the founding anniversary of its army on Thursday, a day befrore the Winter Olympic Games commences. The low-key event was held earlier than it ever has in 40 years, after the date of the parade was changed last month which drew critism from the US. The event was said to be smaller that those previously held and was used to showcase their long-range missile capabilities.