Mattis: North Korea can not drive wedge between the United States and South Korea

15 February, 2018, 08:00 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • Intercontinental ballistic missiles are seen at a grand military parade celebrating the 70th founding anniversary of the Korean People's Army at the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang

North Korea's Alpine skiing coach says it's an "honor" to compete at the Pyeongchang Olympics, though he doesn't expect much from any of his three athletes.

The Weekly Standard detailed that South Korea believes "unification" to be relationship-building centered around the goal of bringing North Korea into South Korea's "democratic, capitalist system".

Speaking on his way home from the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea and the first high-level North-South talks in years, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said Washington would keep up its "maximum pressure campaign" against Pyongyang, but at the same time would be open to talks without pre-conditions.

The ministry expressed Seoul's openness to having President Moon Jae-in accept an invitation delivered by Kim Yo Jong to visit the North, but it offered no details about his response.

North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics as part of a joint Korea Team was a powerful message to the world that there's only one Korea and eventually North and South Korea will be reunited. The two Koreas held summits in 2000 and 2007.

Any meeting would represent a diplomatic coup for Moon, who swept to power a year ago on a policy of engaging more with the reclusive North and has pushed for a diplomatic solution to the standoff over North Korea's nuclear and missile program. In a separate piece, KCNA quoted the leader as saying "it is important to continue making good results by further livening up the warm climate of reconciliation and dialogue created by the strong desire and common will of the north and the south with the Winter Olympics as a momentum". But on the other hand, Pence deserves credit for holding the line against a thinly veiled North Korean charm campaign - especially because many in the American media seem incapable of doing so.

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A diplomatic source said Monday that the USA has accumulated considerable data on illicit ship-to-ship transfers between North Korean ships and foreign vessels on the high seas through satellite tracking and information sharing. United States talks could follow talks between North and South Korea.

"The grievances that the world has about North Korea are very legitimate". As a trusted advisor to her older brother, Kim Yo-jong is the deputy director of Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party of Korea, the ruling communist party of the country. "But if you want to talk, we'll talk", he added.

He said war had forged "the core of the bond" between the USA and South Korea and that helps explains "why there is no daylight and there will be no daylight" between the two.

The source also described as "undignified behavior" Pence's decision to stay seated and to not applaud the unified Korean team at the opening ceremony, adding that the Vice President "took the low road instead of acting like a big brother".

Fred Warmbier accompanied Pence during his visit to South Korea.

That is the assessment of a former South Korean government minister and political experts who say the North has used the Games to drive a wedge between South Korea and its USA ally and to potentially ease pressure on its sanctions-crippled state.

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