nsucurrent.com May 20, 2018

Here's what North Korea's military parade looks like today

10 February 2018, 05:58 | Colleen Roy

Bitter cold affecting athletes, gear at Winter Olympics

Slovakia v United States- 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship

The 2018 Winter Olympics are already a delicate affair, hosted in South Korea's Pyeongchang, just 50 miles from the demilitarized zone with North Korea.

The nuclear-armed North is on an Olympics-linked publicity drive - sending a troupe of performers, hundreds of female cheerleaders, and the sister of leader Kim Jong-un to the South.

"Long Live" cried the assembled troops, their breath condensing in the subzero temperatures and some of them in tears at the sight of the leader.

Pence will meet Friday morning with North Korean defectors as he pays respects at the Cheonan Memorial in Seoul, which honors 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 boat sinking attributed to the North.

"We have never begged for dialogue with the United States and it will be the same going forward", it reported, citing Cho Yong Sam, director-general of the North American department of North Korea's foreign ministry.

As he prepares to travel to South Korea to lead the US delegation to the opening ceremonies of the games, Pence says past overtures to the North have only resulted in "willful deception, broken promises, and endless and escalating provocations".

A diplomatic source told CNN the parade was held at 10am local time - the same time that North Koreans attended their own welcome ceremony at the Winter Olympics in neighbouring South Korea. One of Kim's close aides, Choe Ryong Hae, and Kim Yong Nam were also in attendance.

While at face value, Kim Yo Jong's appearance at the Games might seem like a sign of good will, it is also a distraction from the actual event and a deterrent to what has taken place between North Korea and other countries in the past year leading up to this point.

In the case of women's hockey, North Korean athletes will compete on a joint team with the South, for the first-ever unified Olympic team for the two Koreas.

The sister, Kim Yo Jong, and her entourage will travel by private jet to Seoul's Incheon International Airport on Friday afternoon, North Korea informed the South.

The US "will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games".

In North Korea's dynastic system, which upholds the Kim family's "bloodline" as a sacred leadership qualification, Kim Yo Jong wields a singular clout that can not be matched by any nonrelative members of the elite, regardless of their official titles, according to North Korea analysts.

Pence shied away from public criticism of Moon when they met Thursday evening, congratulating South Korea on hosting the games and pledging continued support in addressing the North's nuclear threat.

But he notes that if Kim was trying to look more rational by engaging with South Korea on the Olympics, the display of military power is an odd way to show it.

"The IOC will provide mobile phones to all athletes of all countries participating at the Olympic Winter Games Pyeongchang 2018".

"As the Chinese saying goes, 'one day of cold weather will not result in three feet of ice.' Given the complex circumstances, let us work together with patience".

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