North Korea dominates pre-Olympic media coverage at PyeongChang

North Korea dominates pre-Olympic media coverage at PyeongChang

North Korea dominates pre-Olympic media coverage at PyeongChang

However, North Korea informed the South on Thursday that the delegation including Kim Yo Jong will arrive on a private jet on Friday hours ahead of the Olympics' opening ceremony.

U.S. vice president Mike Pence, who described North Korea as the world's most tyrannical regime on February 7, flies in to South Korea on February 8 ahead of the opening ceremony in the mountain resort of Pyeongchang, just 80 km (50 miles) from the heavily armed border with North Korea.

In a related development, Jo Yang Sam, Director General of North Korea's foreign ministry, said on Thursday that they "had never "bagged the United States for dialogue".

But it noted conservative South Koreans and USA officials were concerned North Korea's large presence at the Olympics could caused cracks in the global alliance opposing North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

The Unification Ministry, which is in charge of the South's relations with the North stated - "The objective of this high level delegation visit from the North is to celebrate the opening of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics so the group is composed of the officials from Workers' Party, government and sports industry". He also said any engagement would include his ultimate message that North Korea must abandon its nuclear ambitions, an issue Pyongyang insists is not up for negotiation.

From Tokyo, Pence will visit Seoul for talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in before traveling to Pyeongchang for the opening ceremony of the Olympic games.

That position - relatively dovish considering the fierce sabre rattling against Kim by President Donald Trump late a year ago - had been in place since Pyongyang announced in January that it was sending a delegation to the Games.

Pyongyang on Wednesday also proposed sending Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong, who serves as the first vice director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK). The parade appeared to be smaller than past years, according to the BBC.

Pence said his message about North Korea would be the same, "whatever the setting, whoever is present".

Washington has been coy about the possibility, saying only, "We'll see what happens".

South Korea welcomed the news in an official statement from its government.

Skeptics think North Korea is trying to use the Olympics to weaken US -led sanctions and pressure against it and buy time to advance its weapons programs.

The meeting follows a military parade from North Korea today that was originally scheduled for April.

A South Korean official meanwhile told Reuters news agency Friday's opening ceremony at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium was a "protocol nightmare" because of the attendance of high-level officials from both Washington and Pyongyang.

But Pyongyang official Cho insisted: "The reason that our delegation is in the South is to participate in the Winter Olympics and celebrate its successful hosting".

North Korea marked the founding anniversary of its army with a large military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday broadcast by state media, having last month changed the date of the celebration to the eve of the Olympics.

"If they will choose a different path, there's a better future for the people of North Korea and the people of the Korean Peninsula with a nuclear-free future", he said.

Tanks, missile launchers, armoured vehicles, artillery pieces and up to 13,000 soldiers are marching for Kim Jong-un in a display of might to the West. "Regarding North Korea, all participants are requested not to take the phones back to their home country", the spokesperson added.

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