North Korean cheerleading 'army of beauties' arrives at Olympics

Huge military parade in Pyongyang on February 8

Huge military parade in Pyongyang on February 8

Pence told reporters that despite disagreements over how to approach North Korea, the state of the alliance between the USA and South Korea is "strong".

And while the vice president pledged that the USA would "continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder" with the South on bringing peace to the region, he made no mention of dialogue with the North, and instead called for bringing "maximum pressure to bear on North Korea until that time comes when they finally and permanently and irreversibly abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions".

Ham said in a letter to Van Oosterom that the delegation's participation "will serve as a timely opportunity to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and beyond by promoting an environment conducive to a peaceful, diplomatic, and political solution concerning the situation on the peninsula".

A North Korean official says that Pyongyang has no desire to engage in talks with the USA on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics, despite South Korean President Moon Jae-in's recent push to promote dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.

Cho reportedly made the comment on Wednesday, after Pyongyang informed Seoul that its high-level delegation would include Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

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Pence shied away from public criticism of Moon when they met Thursday evening, congratulating South Korea on hosting the games and pledging continued support in addressing the North's nuclear threat.

Pence will head the USA government delegation visiting the Olympics' opening ceremony at Pyeongchang, South Korea.

North Korean leader Kim reviewed the display of military might, the first to take place since April past year, from a balcony above the plaza.

Another protester, with a giant South Korean flag wrapped around her shoulders, said: "Don't you know what is at stake?" At the same time, the vice-president has deliberately left the door open to a possible encounter with North Korean officials expected to be in attendance.

On his Seoul visit, Pence is accompanied by the father of Otto Warmbier, the USA college student who was detained in North Korea and died shortly after being sent home in a coma past year.

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According to Kim, Pence's decision to invite Warmbier to the Games was meant to remind the global community of the North's provocative actions and rights abuses, despite what he said was a bid by Pyongyang to "improve their image in Pyeongchang".

Tours from the South to the resort were closed after a South Korean tourist was shot by a North Korean guard in 2008.

Pence also warned against allowing North Korea to use the Olympics for propaganda purposes. "The U.S. intends to make North Korea pay for what it did".

But privately, officials said Pence expressed concern to Moon about his more conciliatory tone toward North Korea.

"The U.S.is already opposing North Korea's development of nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles, and U.N. Security Council resolutions have led to sanctions on North Korea", he said.

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