Pence says he hasn't ruled out meeting with NKorea officials

  • Pence says he hasn't ruled out meeting with NKorea officials

Pence says he hasn't ruled out meeting with NKorea officials

The head of the United Nations committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea on Wednesday proposed granting an exemption for a senior official from Pyongyang to attend the Winter Olympics in South Korea with his country's high-level delegation though he is subject to a travel ban and asset freeze.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a statement that Kim Yo Jong will be joining North Korea's high-level delegation to the South, headed by Kim Yong Nam, president of North Korea's parliament.

On July 4th, a very similar eight-wheel launcher showed up in a North Korean photo said to show Kim watching the launch of a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile test.

Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have run high since the communist regime previous year test-fired three intercontinental ballistic missiles and staged its sixth and most powerful nuclear test.

The North, however, has agreed with South Korea to send 22 athletes and a 230-strong cheering squad to the Winter Games starting on Friday.

Joongang confirmed that North Korea requested Seoul allow Kim Yo-jong to enter the country for the Olympics but noted that there is no guarantee that it is legal for South Korea to allow her to enter.

In South Korea, Pence will visit a memorial to the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack attributed to the North, and hold meetings with President Moon Jae-in.

The profile of Kim Yo-Jong has been elevated since 2014 when she was appointed vice-director of the party's propaganda and agitation department, according to an October 2017 report by Geostrategy-Direct.

Kim Yo-Jong "has frequently been seen standing close to her brother at major state events, an indication of her closeness with him and the regime". North Korea is participating in the Olympics as well, so we don't know what might present itself.

Since inheriting power from his father in 2011, Kim Jong Un has placed his younger sister in various positions in order to strengthen the position of the family within the country's leadership. North Korea is, in theory, ruled by "Eternal President" Kim Il-Sung; Kim Jong-un weighs six titles, one of them being "Supreme Commander".

A delegation including more than 200 cheerleaders, who are hugely popular in the South, arrived on Wednesday sporting matching scarlet coats and beaming smiles.

Sensitivities over the islands could have potentially flared again during the ice dance competition as these Olympics will be the first Winter Olympics to feature figure skaters performing to music with lyrics.

During the London Olympics in 2012, the International Olympic Committee prohibited the Korean footballer from the bronze medal ceremony for showing a sign which read "Dokdo is our territory", after South Korea's victory, although he received his medal later.

Japan's Abe, whose nation has been within range of North Korean missiles for decades, will also attend the ceremony, adding to seating complications for hosts South Korea. Others in the group include Ri Son-gwon, chair of North Korea's Committee for PeacefulReunification, and Choe Hwi, head of the National Sports Guidance Committee.

More members of the delegation may be announced in the coming days.

There is no such restriction on Kim Yo-Jong, although she is targeted by Washington's own separate sanctions.