VP Pence pressures North Korea ahead of the Olympics

2018 Winter Games

2018 Winter Games

"Explicitly speaking, we have no intention to meet with the USA side during the stay in South Korea", read a statement attributed to Cho Yong Sam, director-general of the North American department of North Korea's foreign ministry, published in the state-controlled news agency KCNA on Thursday. The two countries will enter the ceremony together this year, and they are fielding a women's hockey team medal competition with athletes from both countries.

Pence, who reached Tokyo on Tuesday, is scheduled to attend the Winter Olympics' Opening Ceremony in South Korea on Friday.

With Pyongyang on an Olympics-linked publicity drive - sending a troupe of performers, hundreds of female cheerleaders, and the sister of leader Kim Jong-un to the South - Pence said the U.S. "will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games".

But even if the Trump administration is considering talks with the North Korean delegation, it doesn't mean that the tense standoff over North Korea's nuclear program is going to dissipate anytime soon.

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She is said to be close to her older brother Kim and was promoted previous year to become an alternate member of the politburo, North Korea's top decision-making body.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said the art troupe, led by Hyon Song-Wol, head of the Samjiyon Orchestra, would hold a "congratulatory performance" for the Games in South Korea.

During Vice President Mike Pence's stop in Japan on Wednesday, he told hundreds of USA military personnel at Yokota Air Base that military action against North Korea remains a possibility. While Pence pledged that the USA would stop North Korea from threatening his homeland, Kim paraded mobile missile launchers through Pyongyang.

"There are no plans to meet with any North Korean officials during or after the Olympics; I want to be clear about that".

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"Why can't we carry our own flag at the opening ceremony - because it's Pyongyang Olympics!" a protester who came from Incheon told AFP.

Mr Pence watched Japanese troops demonstrate the simulated deployment of Japan's surface-to-air missile defence system, which would attempt to intercept a North Korean missile.

Kim Yo Jong first appeared in public escorting her brother in 2014 and later held an official post in charge of national propaganda.

Cho's statement also warned the USA delegation to watch their words and actions, in reference to Pence's vowed to counter North Korea's efforts to "hijack" the Olympics.

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