Thursday, 18 October, 2018

Korean War allies consider further sanctions against North Korea

Shannon Reynolds | 17 January, 2018, 23:14

"But if we march together (during the opening ceremony) or field a single team, I think that can be a further step in developing South-North relations".

Pyongyang and Seoul must work out how the North Korean delegation - which could comprise up to 500 athletes, cheerleaders, musicians, officials and journalists - will cross the border into South Korea, and who will pay for their accommodation and other costs.

The sides agreed that North Korea will send its delegation, including officials, to the Olympic Games in South Korea's PyeongChang.

But South Korean media predicted only up to 10 North Korean athletes would end up being covered by an additional quota by the International Olympic Committee to compete in Pyeongchang because no North Koreans are now qualified. Only two North Korean athletes, figure skaters Kim Ju-sik and Ryom Tae-ok, have qualified for the games.

The announcement comes at a time of renewed discussions between the two countries, although South Korean president Moon Jae-in's recent praise of American president Donald Trump drew the ire of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

North Korea has enjoyed some success at the Summer Olympics, but its prowess at alpine events leaves much to be desired.

The 20-nation meeting in Vancouver agreed today to consider imposing unilateral sanctions on Pyongyang that go beyond those required by UN Security Council resolutions.

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"In any case, what we should have in mind is that North Korea continues to advance its nuclear and missile programs, even as we speak, and we should not be naïve about their intent", Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono said. Later, the Foreign Ministers of the United States, Japan, South Korea and Canada reportedly gathered to exchange views on the North Korea issue.

"We reject a "freeze for freeze" approach in which legitimate defensive military exercises are placed on the same level of equivalency as the DPRK's unlawful actions", Tillerson said.

South Korean women's hockey coach Sarah Murray told reporters Tuesday that she thought the proposed joint hockey team would affect team chemistry and create a hard situation for her players, some of whom would presumably lose playing time to new players.

Another proposal is to have athletes from both nations march together during the opening ceremony. "In short, it is not the time to ease pressure or to reward North Korea", he said, calling for a "maximum pressure" campaign.

The world, he added, should be wary of the North's efforts to talk with the South, which he described as a "charm offensive".

North Korea informed South Korea of the size of its Olympic cheering squad when officials from the rivals met at the border for the third time in less than 10 days to discuss how to cooperate in the Olympics. "It definitely affects our players".

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