Sunday, 22 September, 2019

US, S.Korea agree to maintain pressure on N. Korea

US, S.Korea agree to maintain pressure on N. Korea US, S.Korea agree to maintain pressure on N. Korea
Patty Aguilar | 12 February, 2018, 02:47

After delivering an invitation for Moon to visit Pyongyang earlier on Saturday, Kim arrived dressed in a black fur-collared coat and took her seat next to North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, with Olympic chief Thomas Bach also present.

Analysts say the North's Olympic diplomatic drive seeks to loosen worldwide sanctions against it and undermine the alliance between Seoul and Washington.

Hundreds of South Korean activists gathered in protest of their northern counterparts Sunday, burning the North's flag and ripping up posters of dictator Kim Jong Un's face. "Even for a moment, it appears to be a normal state".

But it was Pence who cast one of the loneliest figures at the event.

"Sending his sister with an invite for Moon to Pyongyang is well played by Kim Jong Un", said James Schoff, a Korea expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington.

North Korea's delegation to the games will conclude its visit later on Sunday, having appeared to thaw the rift with the South, but there is scepticism about how honest Pyongyang is about improving relations. South Korean President Moon Jae-in tried hard to get the United States and North Korea together.

The Winter Games are being staged only 80km (50 miles) from the border with North Korea, which is technically still at war with the South since their 1950-1953 war ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

Moon tried to engineer U.S.

But "unification" is only peaceful and warm when the word is used in the context that South Korea does. "It is important to move forward with the drills as planned", Abe said, according to South's presidential Blue House.

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

Uneasy quest for Turkish-US compromise on Syrian Kurds
Syria's foreign ministry wrote a letter to the Security Council Thursday calling for global condemnation. It had been under the occupation of ISIL before being taken by US -backed YPG militia forces in 2017.

Turkish troops killed in offensive
The Syrian foreign ministry condemned the bombardment as a "war crime", an accusation echoed by the Russian ambassador to the UN. Negotiations on the proposed measure are to begin on Monday, and diplomats said it could quickly come to a vote at the council.

Mike Pence avoids North Korean official at Olympic reception
The vice president also opted not to attend a dinner where he was expected to sit with a member of the North Korean delegation. North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

But it lost 8-0, and the chances of the dazzling but largely symbolic moves leading to a tangible political breakthrough are nearly as remote, analysts say.

But North Korea watchers aren't convinced that Moon will stay on script.

In recent years, the North has been testing nuclear weapons, including ones that supposedly have the power to reach the United States, which has left many on the worldwide stage on edge.

North Korea is under a heavy United Nations sanctions regime which was originally targeted at stopping the proliferation of arms and nuclear and missile technologies, but has become more all-encompassing after its accelerated missile testing. This was not supposed to be, as some in Seoul grumble, the "Pyongyang Games", a play on the North Korean capital's phonetic similarity to Pyeongchang.

In the meeting, Kang said that South Korea will continue diplomatic efforts to ensure that the dialogue between the two Koreas will lead to talks between the United States and North Korea and other forms of dialogue aimed at denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. The North then withdrew its request after it asked for more fuel than Seoul was willing to provide, a Seoul official added.

A joint ice hockey team, comprising of both North and South Korean players will take part in the Winter Games.

North Korea has sent a delegation of 22 athletes to compete in five disciplines, with their women's ice hockey players to compete in a unified Korean team.

Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state who was also at Saturday's meeting, said "even unexpected difficulties and ordeals could be surely overcome and the future of reunification brought earlier when having a firm will and taking courage and determination to usher in a new heyday of inter-Korean relations".

"The people I spoke to in Pyongyang were really excited about the joint team", said Michael Spavor of the Paektu Cultural Exchange, an organisation which took a group of tourists to Pyongyang last week.

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