On Wednesday, Pence announced the US would again ramp up economic sanctions aimed at starving the regime of resources.
They had profited at Kaesong, using cheap Korean-speaking labour close to South Korean markets – a rare example of North-South cooperation since the two sides ended their 1950-53 war.
South Korean and US forces have regularly conducted joint drills, which North Korea refer to as “invasion rehearsals” as the regime has ramped up its threats of nuclear provocation.
“My staff came back to South Korea in an empty vehicle”.
As his personal guest at the opening ceremony of the games, Pence invited Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American who died previous year days after his release from captivity in North Korea.
But the January 31 trip wasn’t official until less than two hours before the chartered Asiana Airlines flight carrying the South Korean skiers took off for the North’s Kalma Airport.
Otto Warmbier was an American who died a year ago, just days after his release from captivity in North Korea.
Kim was expected to carefully control the parade’s message, with South Korea’s JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reporting Wednesday that North Korea had rescinded invitations to foreign journalists.
This week, however, Olympics organizers told news agencies that although 4,000 athletes would get the phones, two countries may not be able to receive the giveaways: North Korea and Iran. Of course, it was inevitable for Seoul to make an exception for the ship to avoid the sanctions. North Korea’s Olympics team, however, refused.
“As we speak, an estimated 100,000 North Korean citizens labor in modern-day gulags”, Pence said. “Iranians will be able to keep the phones, but not the North Korean athletes”. “What North Korea would not want to have is a united front against it”, he says. But the organizer decided not to give out the devices, rather than risking violating sanctions.
However, it was unclear why that would affect Iranian athletes, as Samsung products are widely available for sale in Iran, which has good diplomatic and trade relations with South Korea.
North Korea is sending a high-ranking official delegation to the Olympics that will include the younger sister of leader Kim Jong Un and the North’s nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam. It’s unknown what South Korea has planned as of now.
Memorabilia items are seen inside the museum at he stone villa where former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il used to holiday with the children of Soviet commanders, in Goseong, South Korea February 6, 2018.
The more hawkish view is the North Koreans are taking a conciliatory stance to put pressure on the alliance between the US and South Korea.
Addressing tens of thousands of troops and civilians assembled on the square below him, Kim jong Un said the parade marks North Korea’s emergence as a “global military power” despite facing the “worst sanctions”.
Kim Yong-nam is the President of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, a position he has held since 1998.
But the trip could become a source of contention between Seoul and Washington, as she was blacklisted a year ago by the U.S. Treasury Department over human rights abuses and censorship, while Choe faces a travel ban under U.N. Security Council sanctions.