gpolit.com
gpolit.com May 21, 2018


N.Korea cheering squad performs at welcome event

09 February 2018, 02:00 | Rufus Hill

KIM WON-JIN AFP Getty Images

KIM WON-JIN  AFP  Getty Images

The spokesman said the ranking DPRK delegation will attend the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics, which are scheduled to be held today at South Korea's eastern county of PyeongChang.

That means the North would be wrong to assume that the South will beg it to reopen the Kaesong Industrial Complex, one of the most ambitious North-South cooperative efforts of the 2003-2009 detente era.

But a Seoul government source told AFP: "We have learned that North Korea staged a military parade at Kim Il Sung square in Pyongyang". During the April parade, North Korea displayed a new type of missile that USA intelligence labeled as the KN-17 and assessed as a single-stage anti-ship missile.

A decision by North Korea to send the artists by sea has triggered debate in the South, where conservatives see the move as a clear indication the North is trying to use the Olympics to ease sanctions against it.

From smartphones to ship fuel, South Korea is wrestling how to balance global sanctions on North Korea with its desire to show the Olympic spirit as it welcomes hundreds of North Koreans for the Winter Games.

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.

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. "And we will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile program once and for all".

"We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games", Pence said.

Pence previously announced plans to invite Fred Warmbier, father of the late Otto Warmbier, as his personal guest to the Games.

North Korean artists and musicians will also perform during the games at venues in the Pyeongchang region and in Seoul. He knows that Trump's approval ratings in South Korea are far lower than his already-abysmal ratings in the US, so he is exploiting that fact to facilitate his nuclear-normalization objective.

The North Korean tabloid Chosun Ibo also speculated that beer has been in works since at least 2015, after that the leader of the country, Kim Jong-un, complained that beers imported from South Korea are too bland.

Pence said after talks with Abe in Tokyo on Wednesday that Washington would soon unveil its toughest ever economic sanctions on North Korea, calling the country the "most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet".

But his comments did not rule out a meeting - and nor has Pence.

Pyongyang's annual parade, marking the founding of its armed forces, has been held in April for 40 years.

Unlike North Korea's last parade in April previous year, its state television did not broadcast the event live, instead airing it hours later.

The restrictive coverage of the military parade may indicate Pyongyang wants to keep the world focused on its Olympic participation and renewed inter-Korean cooperation. The South Korean government said Thursday morning that it did not even know what time the parade would begin.



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