Images from military parade show rare glimpse of North Korean nuclear arsenal

09 February, 2018, 04:55 | Author: Kim Reid
  • Pyeongchang Host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics    
    PYEONGCHANG South Korea is the host city for the 2018 Winter Olympics

Welcoming Pence to the presidential Blue House, Moon took the opportunity to highlight the visit of the North Korean officials to the games, calling them "Olympic Games of peace".

"We'll continue to seize every opportunity to ensure that North Korea does not use the powerful imagery and backdrop of the Olympics to paper over an appalling record of human rights and a pattern of developing weapons and conducting the kind of missile launches that are threatening our nation and threatening neighbors across the region", Pence said.

Abe echoed Pence's comments through a translator, urging countries "not to be lured by the charm offensive of North Korea".

While South Korea asked for broad approval to host the high-level delegation from Pyongyang - including North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong - Choe was the only member subjected to a targeted U.N.travel ban and asset freeze.

The participation of North Korea in the Olympics was up in the air, but three rounds of talks also led to the entrance of 22 athletes from North Korea.

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President Moon Jae-in will receive a group of delegates from the communist north at an undisclosed location this week, his office said.

Kim Yo Jong has been an increasingly prominent figure in North Korea's leadership and is considered one of the few people who has earned Kim Jong Un's absolute trust.

Moon has supported US -led sanctions against the North, but he has repeatedly called for dialogue.

"We haven't requested a meeting with North Korea, but 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 ambitions", Pence said.

Whether Mr. Pence or Mr. Abe are open to even a brief discussion with the North Koreans is unclear.

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"As we speak, an estimated 100,000 North Korean citizens labor in modern-day gulags", Pence said.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Wednesday that Pence is "quite capable of making the call" on whether to meet with North Korean officials at the Olympics.

Seoul had to waive sanctions in place since 2010 on North Korea over the sinking of a South Korean naval vessel to allow the ship to enter this time. The missiles on display Thursday included the Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 ICBMs, which the North test-launched past year.

Some analysts in the South said that the North might have decided not to ruffle too many feathers as its athletes and officials were overseas.

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