Saturday, 24 August, 2019

USA set to slap 'toughest and most aggressive' sanctions on North Korea

Mike Pence US Vice President Mike Pence
Shannon Reynolds | 08 February, 2018, 15:52

"As we've said before, the Vice President is supporting all the USA athletes in the Olympics and is hoping they all win medals".

Rippon said he'd avoid a meet-and-greet with Pence because of his views: "If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren't a friend of a gay person but that they think that they're sick".

The almost identical comments by Pence and Tillerson expressing openness to a meeting with the North Koreans appeared deliberate and coordinated.

The Games will place United States officials in close proximity to their North Korea counterparts, leading to speculation of a possible meeting between Pence and members of the North Korean delegation in Pyeongchang. That delicate balance has led to some verbal gymnastics as US officials try to explain what is and isn't in the offing.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters traveling with him on a visit to Jamaica that he did not anticipate a meeting at the Olympics, but "it just depends on the circumstances as to whether this is the right time or not".

Kim Yo-jong, the 28-year-old sister of the North Korean leader, will be sitting in the same stadium as VIP guests along with ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam.

After a 40-minute practice Thursday afternoon, Rippon was asked whether he declined to meet with Pence.

"My message - whatever the setting, whoever is present - will be the same: And that is that North Korea must once and for all abandon its nuclear weapons program and ballistic missile ambitions", Pence said.

Pence shied away from public criticism of Moon when they met Thursday evening, congratulating South Korea on hosting the games and pledging continued support in addressing the North's nuclear threat.

Pence also spoke about the regime's human rights abuses.

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Pope praises joint Korean Olympic teams, Vatican willing to back peace initiatives
It is understood she returned to North Korea in 2000 having completed primary school and went on to become a computer scientist. The Winter Olympics opening ceremony is Friday, Feb. 9, and the closing ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25.

But so far, China has failed to agree to a game-changing oil embargo, and there remains fierce debate inside the White House on whether pre-emptive military action will be needed to stop North Korea's drive for nuclear power status.

US Vice President Mike Pence vowed tough new sanctions against North Korea and called it the world's most tyrannical regime on Wednesday, two days before he is due to attend the winter Olympics, along with two of the North's most senior officials.

Welcoming Pence to the presidential Blue House, Moon took the opportunity to highlight the visit of the North Korean officials to the games, calling them "Olympic Games of peace".

Vice President Mike Pence said today the United States was "ready for any eventuality" with regard to North Korea and warned that "all options were on the table" to deal with Pyongyang's threats. He touted the coming deployment of an additional 20 ground-based interceptors that would respond to an enemy launch.

In January, after Pence was chosen to lead the US delegation into the Opening Ceremonies of the PyeongChang Games, Rippon made a series of comments to USA Today indicating he had no desire to meet with Pence, in large part because of his record regarding gay rights.

"He & his wife remind the world of the atrocities happening in N Korea", Pence tweeted Monday.

President Donald Trump has criticised the policy of previous USA administrations towards North Korea and has already convinced the global community to significantly tighten sanctions against Pyongyang.

Nevertheless, according to state news agency KCNA, the North has no intention of meeting U.S. officials during the Games - but did not rule it out either.

On Sunday, the North Korean government shot back that its nuclear missile program would "deter Trump and his lackeys from showing off on the Korean peninsula".

Pence says an estimated 100,000 North Korean citizens labor in modern-day gulags, and that those who dare raise their voices in dissent are imprisoned, tortured and even murdered. The isolated country has proven it can launch missiles of sufficient range, but has yet to develop a vehicle that can withstand the hazards of atmospheric re-entry.

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