June 21, 2018

International Olympic Committee boss to visit North Korea after winter Games

12 February 2018, 11:17 | Taylor George

International Olympic Committee boss to visit North Korea after winter Games

Kim Yong Nam Kim Yo Jong Mike Pence

US Vice President Mike Pence, also in South Korea for the Olympics, has said the United States and South Korea were closely aligned in their approach to dealing with North Korea.

The North Korean delegation arrived in the South on Kim's private plane on Friday via Incheon worldwide airport to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyongchang Winter Olympics where Seoul and Pyongyang are represented by joint teams.

Washington calls it a campaign of "maximum pressure".

Moon was invited to a summit with Kim, even as the USA warned against falling for Pyongyang's Olympic charm offensive.

The statement from the Ministry of Unification came after the North Korean delegation concluded its three-day visit which included an invitation for South Korean President Moon Jae-in to travel to Pyongyang for talks.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has been using the Games in his efforts to re-engage with the North and to pave the way for talks over the North's weapons programme.

Moon said he wanted to "create the environment for that to be able to happen", according to the office. He also encouraged the North to be more proactive in seeking dialogue with the United States, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

Pyeongchang Olympics Short Track Speed Skating Women

-South Korea joint military exercises after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Pence did not interact with the North Koreans even though he was seated in the same box as them at Friday's opening ceremony.

But Pence's comments aboard Air Force Two may signal a shift in Trump administration's focus toward engagement with Pyongyang and an easing of conditions for talks with North Korea. The previous meetings came after rounds of global talks aimed at eliminating the North's nuclear program, which eventually failed.

Flying back to Washington after attending the opening ceremony, Mr Pence said: "There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile programme".

China, North Korea's largest trading partner, welcomed North Korea's move.

"Moon should realize that offering economic benefits for symbolic North Korean gestures is not only ineffectual but would themselves risk being violations of United Nations resolutions", Klingner said. And while Mr Abe tried to impress on Mr Moon the need to uphold a "final and irreversible" bilateral pact on the comfort women issue according to global norms, Mr Moon suggested that Japan should instead be the one that ought to reflect on its history. "Talks for the sake of talks are meaningless", Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera told Japanese reporters on Saturday.

In response, Moon said that it was an internal affair and that it was inappropriate for Abe to bring it up, according to Cheong Wa Dae.

"Under a strong position for denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, Korea will faithfully implement the global sanctions on North Korea, while also adhering to the principle of resolution through peaceful means", the statement said.

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