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North Korea's Military Parade Comes at a Bad Time for Trump

North Korea's Military Parade Comes at a Bad Time for Trump

The 22-member delegation will be headed by the communist state's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong-nam.

South Korean tours to the Mt Kumgang resort were closed after a South Korean tourist was shot by a North Korean guard there in 2008. Radio Free Asia reported during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics that although the country's delegation was given phones, North Korea's Olympic committee had refused to distribute them to athletes.

North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

As he warns the world against falling for North Korea's diplomatic overtures around the Winter Olympics, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence tells American service members to "be vigilant".

The parade was reportedly smaller than recent years and the footage showed Kim Jong-un inspecting troops, alongside his wife Ri Sol-ju.

It has now been confirmed Kim Jong-un's sister will attend Friday's opening ceremony.

To facilitate the attendance of several senior functionaries from the North, South Korea has allowed some exemptions to sanctions imposed on North Korea over its nuclear programme, although the foreign ministry in Seoul said these would apply only during the Pyeongchang games.

Missiles are displayed during North Korea's military parade on February 8.

Yong-nam is the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea. He did not address a meeting with North Korean officials, but did reiterate the U.S.'s support for the "shared objective of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

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Kim Jong Un might also have seen that U.S. President Donald Trump was sending his daughter, Ivanka, to the Olympics closing ceremony and made a decision to match the move by sending his sister, said Hong Min, an analyst at Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification.

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.

With the 2018 Winter Olympics due to begin in South Korea, all eyes are on the North Korean delegation to the games.

Pence will meet Moon on Thursday.

Despite what appears to be a recent inter-Korean thaw ahead of the Olympics, the vice president spent a large portion of the speech highlighting the North's unabated dream of "conquering their neighbors in the South", as well as its brutal human rights abuses that he said has consigned its citizens to a lifetime of "poverty", "starvation" and "deprivation".

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will also attend the ceremony, adding to seating complications for the hosts.

Says Pence: "The United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever - and we will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs once and for all".

Almost 300 North Koreans crossed the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries on Wednesday to participate in the Olympics, including 229 women that were part of a large "cheering squad", The Washington Post reported.


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