Pence prevents encounter with North Korean authorities as Olympics start
By Reuters News|Upgraded: February 09, 2018
SEOUL/PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made just a short look at a reception marking the start of the Winter Olympics on Friday, preventing a possibly uncomfortable encounter with the ritualistic leader of North Korea going to the exact same occasion.
The reception hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the mountain resort of Pyeongchang was the conclusion of months of work by Seoul, which looks for to utilize the Olympics to relieve stress stimulated by North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Ahead of the reception, South Korean media stated Pence was anticipated to be seated opposite Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s small head of state, at the 12-seat head table.
South Korea’s presidental Blue House stated Pence had actually a conference arranged with U.S. professional athletes and had actually just prepared to remain briefly to welcome other authorities.
Pence shook hands with other leaders, consisting of close ally Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, however not Kim Yong Nam, inning accordance with a Blue House swimming pool report.
Previously on Friday, Pence stated Moon offered his support to extra procedures the United States is preparing to aim to suppress North Korea’s rocket and nuclear programs.
Pence spoke after paying homage at a memorial for 46 South Korean sailors eliminated in the sinking of a warship in 2010 that Seoul blamed on a North Korean torpedo attack.
Kim Yong Nam landed in South Korea on Friday together with leader Kim Jong Un’s more youthful sis, Kim Yo Jong, aboard her sibling’s personal jet.
The white airplane had the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, North Korea’s main name, engraved in black in Korean on its side, followed by the North Korean flag.
Kim Yo Jong and her delegation were welcomed by federal government authorities, consisting of Unification Minister Cho Myong-gyon, prior to boarding a bullet train to Pyeongchang. An unique train had actually been prepared simply for the visitors, a Blue House swimming pool report stated.
Smiling and apparently unfazed by electronic cameras flashing throughout the airport conference, Kim Yo Jong used a black coat, matching ankle boots and brought a black handbag. Lots of South Koreans at the airport aimed to snap pictures of her on their cellphones.
She is the very first member of North Korea’s judgment household to check out the South, while Kim Yong Nam is the most senior North Korean authorities to make a cross-border journey.
The set will have lunch with Moon on Saturday, Moon’s workplace stated.
GAMES and riots
Pence had actually kept open the possibility for some contact with the North Koreans in South Korea, while restating Washington’s persistence that denuclearization by North Korea is an essential condition for peace.
Pence, Kim Yo Jong and other world leaders will go to the opening event in Pyeongchang, simply 80 km (50 miles) from the greatly strengthened border in between North and South Korea, later Friday.
Numerous anti-North Korea protesters scuffled with riot cops hours not far from the primary arena prior to the opening event was because of start, with a few of their banners checking out “Moon routine is leading Korea to damage”.
Countless viewers, consisting of a team of more than 200 North Korean cheerleaders, filled the freezing arena waiting for the start of the opening event, when the 2 Koreas will march together under one peninsula flag for the very first time in more than a years.
“It is not as cold as I anticipated. It is a blessed day. I like the reconciliatory state of mind and I have high expectations,” stated Kim Sang-yoon, a 44-year-old business owner who drove almost 5 hours to see the opening event with his other half and 2 boys.
Almost 500 North Koreans have actually shown up in South Korea for the Olympics, which go through to Feb. 25.