Under Kim Jong-un North Korea passed several significant economic reforms in sectors like agriculture, making the country de facto semi-capitalist and more prosperous compared to the low point of the starvation in the mid 1990s. “I leave this trip encouraged that we will continue to work very closely to continue and intensify the maximum pressure campaign that is underway against the regime in Pyongyang”.
North Korea has spent years developing its military, saying it needs to protect itself from U.S. aggression. “Even for a moment, it appears to be a normal state”.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also attended the opening ceremony but had no contact with the North Korean delegation.
There were South Koreans who agreed with Pence’s stance.
The DPRK delegation also included Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s younger sister who serves as the first vice director of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
While Tokyo has not condemned recent talks between the two Koreas insofar as they concern participation in the Pyeongchang Games, it has also warned against North Korea’s “charm offensive”.
In addition to the joint appearance in the Olympics, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has reportedly been invited to North Korea for a visit.
Some North Korean experts believe tough United Nations sanctions that are cutting off most of the isolated regime’s sources of revenue might pressure Pyongyang to further engage with Seoul. In pushing for a summit with Moon, Kim is seeking to consolidate those gains while maintaining his nuclear arsenal to deter a USA invasion. He was imprisoned as a young man for working to topple South Korea’s military rulers and forced into the elite special forces as punishment. Moon replied that it was not appropriate for Abe to have raised the issue, which he described as an internal affair. Both Pence and the North Koreans resisted Moon’s initiative and avoided interacting with one another.
“This development could have been anticipated, but for Japan it’s a nightmare scenario”, said Takashi Kawakami, a professor of worldwide politics at Takushoku University in Tokyo. In the longer term, Kim appears to hope that he can convince the global community that it can co-exist with a nuclear North Korea.
Those sanctions have resulted from North Korea’s continued efforts to develop nuclear weapons capabilities that could hit the United States.
US President Donald Trump and the North Korean leadership traded insults and threats of nuclear war as tensions rose, with Trump repeatedly dismissing the prospect or value of talks with North Korea.
“We have to be unified (with North Korea)”.
Moon has benefited from the rock star-like reception that Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, has received here. This was not supposed to be, as some in Seoul grumble, the “Pyongyang Games”, a play on the North Korean capital’s phonetic similarity to Pyeongchang.
The poor showing didn’t stop the sellout crowd from cheering throughout much of the game, the chants led often by North Korea’s famous cheering group, and it didn’t lessen the import of the event.
Members of a delegation from North Korea, part of an extraordinary Olympics partnership between the two Korean rivals, watched from high in the stadium a performance called “The Land of Peace” and as past South Korean athletes paraded a large southern flag. The North then withdrew its request after it asked for more fuel than Seoul was willing to provide, a Seoul official added.
And at the Olympics itself, the North and South are competing as a unified “All Korean” team – marching under one flag at the Opening Ceremony and playing together at the ice hockey tournament.
Images from the lunch meeting at the Blue House, which was broadcast live on South Korean TV, showed Moon sat in front of Kim Yo Jong, rather than Kim Yong Nam, technically the more senior official present in the meeting and head of the North Korean delegation.