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Moon to meet high-level N.Korean delegation

09 February 2018

Though Pence didn't comment directly on the North's latest request for fuel assistance, he appeared to rule out the possibility of sanction relief, announcing the U.S. would soon seek to impose the "toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever".

Pence viewed Japanese troops as they demonstrated a simulation of Japanese surface-to-air missile defense systems and took part in a briefing by Japan's defense minister before meeting with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Pence avoided public criticism of Moon, congratulating South Korea on hosting the games and pledging continued support in addressing the North's nuclear threat.

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un will visit the South this week for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Seoul said Wednesday - the first member of its ruling family ever to do so.

North Korea's parade on Thursday was held for the 70th anniversary of the founding of its armed forces.

Complicating things further, Pence on Wednesday promised tough new sanctions against North Korea.

In a televised speech, Kim said that the parade marks North Korea's emergence as a "global military power" despite facing the "worst sanctions".

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un inspects a newly established Pyongyang trackless trolley factory in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on February 1.

He is pushing South Korea to adopt a more hawkish stance toward the North and is warning against North Korean "propaganda" efforts at the games.

Kim Yo Jong's inclusion in the North Korean delegation is likely to irritate the United States, which has sent its own delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence to counter North Korea's charm offensive.

The US delegation will be led by Vice President Pence.

The war-separated rivals are co-operating for a series of conciliatory measures during the Olympics, which Seoul sees as an opportunity to ease tensions with Pyongyang following an extended period of animosity over its nuclear weapons and missiles programme. Asked if war with North Korea is closer than when Trump took office a year ago, Mattis said US policy is "firmly in the diplomatic lane", as shown by agreement among world powers to increase sanctions. This seems to be a real push to do a number of things, namely to present the North in a confident way, but it also may presage the possibility of significant substantive talks with the North Koreans.

Pyeongchang's opening ceremonies will be attended by North Korea's ceremonial leader, Kim Yong Nam, as well as Kim Yo Jong, the influential sister of leader Kim Jong Un, according to NPR's Elise Hu, who is reporting from Tokyo.

In Washington, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Wednesday that Pence is "quite capable of making the call" on whether to meet with North Korean officials at the Olympics.

Pyongyang, however, said last month that February 8 will be marked as the date that the Korean People's Army was founded, as that is the day in 1948 that country founder Kim began a transformation that culminated in the establishment of the KPA.

"And that is that North Korea must once and for all abandon its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile ambitions".

At about 12:30 p.m. the correspondent said he saw aircraft fly over and paint the sky with streaks of red, white and blue smoke for the colors of the North Korean flag. The Mangyongbong-92 arrived at an eastern South Korean port Tuesday afternoon with 114 members of an art troupe that will perform in Gangneung on Thursday and Seoul on February 11.

Moon to meet high-level N.Korean delegation