Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

N Korea stages a military parade on eve of Olympics

N Korea stages a military parade on eve of Olympics

With those sobering thoughts in mind, let the "games" at the Winter Olymics begin.

"We have never begged for dialogue with the USA nor in the future, too", the North's KCNA news agency said, citing Jo Yong Sam, a director-general in the North's foreign ministry.

Though the Winter Olympic Games, opening tomorrow in Pyeongchang, South Korea, will provide a welcome pause in North Korean trouble-making, the break in Pyongyang's belligerence will only be temporary.

"The [Trump] administration is still signaling that we're going down the path of eventual confrontation".

"You can't have it that one person opens the door and another closes it", he said.

South Korea's mission to the United Nations wrote in the request that the visit "will serve as a timely opportunity to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula and beyond by promoting an environment conducive to a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution concerning the situation on the Peninsula". The worldwide sanctions could bar Olympic organizers and sponsors from providing North Korean athletes with certain perks that hundreds of other Olympians will receive.

And it's far more conciliatory than Trump's November message to South Korea's parliament that "the world can not tolerate the menace of a rogue regime that threatens with nuclear devastation". "We clearly state that we have no intention to meet with the USA side during our visit to South Korea".

"The exemption only goes for this person", the source told Kyodo News.

The nuclear-armed North is on an Olympics-linked charm offensive - sending a troupe of performers, hundreds of female cheerleaders, the ceremonial head of state and even Kim's sister to South Korea.

Before departing for Asia, Pence fueled speculation of a potential meeting by telling reporters that he had not ruled out meeting with the North Koreans on the sidelines in Pyeongchang.

"By holding the military parade a day before the Olympics and showing off its military power made me doubt Kim Jong Un's intentions", said Lee Young-wook, a protester from Seoul. "Better for its own people, better for the region, and better for peace".

Vice President Mike Pence said: "We'll be there to cheer on our American athletes, but we'll also be there to stand with our allies and remind the world that North Korea is the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet".

The stance on North Korea of President Donald Trump, whose war of words with Kim Jong Un has quieted lately, has not changed, White Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said most recently in December.

"They are here to make fools of South Koreans, and I can not accept that", said 71-year-old Kwon Oh-seok, adding that he had travelled from Seoul, the capital, to protest against the performance.

Protesters set fire to North Korean flags and photos of Kim Jong Un, the North's blood-drenched despot.

That ICBM was a new large missile, called the Hwasong 15, that North Korea had not been paraded in April and was of a totally different design from that of the ICBM's launched in July.

Analysts say that with the dual approach, the North is looking to normalize its status as a "de facto nuclear state", and could be trying to weaken sanctions against it or drive a wedge between the South and its ally the U.S.

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