Are There North Koreans at the Winter Olympics?

Glen Norman
February 9, 2018

"Explicitly speaking, we have no intention to meet with the USA side during the stay in South Korea", the KCNA news agency said, citing director-general at North Korea's foreign ministry, Jo Yong Sam, according to Reuters.

A top North Korean official seemed to rule out a potential meeting with us officials in the North's state-run media on Thursday, but Pence suggested to reporters that it was still a possibility. Kim will not lead the political delegation-that responsibility goes to Kim Yong-nam (no known relation), nominally North Korea's head of government.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert later stressed there were no plans for Pence or his delegation to meet with North Korean leaders.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a tweet that the sanctions would be unveiled "in the coming weeks" and urged all countries to fully implement existing United Nations sanctions and to back the US pressure campaign by expelling North Korean "financial facilitators and trade reps".

Pence told reporters that despite disagreements over how to approach North Korea, the state of the alliance between the USA and South Korea is "strong".

The vice president has invited the father of Otto Warmbier - the American student jailed in North Korea who died soon after returning to the United States - to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Meanwhile, North Korea's taekwondo demonstration squad will hold four joint performances with their South Korean counterparts to celebrate the February 9-25 Winter Games.

Kim Yo Jong, believed to be around 30, will be the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

In recent days, hundreds of anti-North Korea campaigners have taken to the streets against the North's participation in the Olympics.

"With regard to any interaction with the North Korean delegation, I have not requested a meeting, but we'll see what happens", Mr Pence told reporters on Tuesday in Alaska en route to Japan and then to South Korea.

North Korea's cheer squad has arrived in South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

The South Korean presidential office on Wednesday said it is "significant" that Kim Yo Jong was included in the delegation.

The cheerleaders represent an advance party of high-level officials from the North Korean regime who are set to attend the Winter Games.

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