North Korea cancelled meeting with Pence at Olympics

Elias Hubbard
February 21, 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in talks with Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, after watching North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra's performance in Seoul, South Korea, on February 11.

"North Korea would have strongly preferred the vice president not use the world stage to call attention to those absolute facts or to display our strong alliance with those committed to the maximum pressure campaign", he added.

North Korea has conducted the most powerful nuclear test and several Inter-continental ballistic missiles tests.

Pence says, "If there's an opportunity for talks that can communicate the fixed policy in the United States of America to them, the president has made it clear, he always believes in talking".

The display, while later criticised and mocked in western and South Korean media, was lauded by U.S. officials for not giving face to the "most oppressive regime on earth". But while USA officials had left open the possibility that Pence could potentially meet with the North Koreans during the visit, they had emphasized that no such meeting was expected. "He also made clear that until they agreed to complete denuclearization we weren't going to change any of our positions or negotiate", Ayers said, echoing comments made by Pence since he left the Olympics and other USA officials.

Pence's office, acknowledging the scrapped meeting on Tuesday, said North Korea had "dangled a meeting" in hopes that doing so would entice the vice-president to ease up on the North. Pence's office suggested that North Korea later bailed because it became clear he would hold firm on the USA stance if a meeting did occur.

"We regret their failure to seize this opportunity", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

"It is not appropriate to mention information on North Korea's nuclear program in detail for now".

"Perhaps that's why they walked away from a meeting, or perhaps they were never honest about sitting down", Ayers said.

Kim Yo Jong herself announced she was expecting, according to unidentified officials quoted in local media, during her three-day stay in the country at the beginning of the month as part of a high-level North Korean delegation.

Pence's trip came after President Donald Trump days earlier hosted a group of North Korean defectors in the Oval Office, including Ji Seong-ho, whom the president had referenced in his State of the Union address.

Moon's office said on Wednesday in Seoul that it had "nothing to share or comment" regarding the Trump administration's comments.

News of the secret meeting comes as relations between the communist north and democratic south seem to be thawing in recent weeks with the announcement last month from Kim Jong-un that he was sending a delegation to the Olympics. It also sent Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong. The plan centres around rallying the worldwide community to further isolate North Korea both diplomatically and economically.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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