Korean hockey team faces Switzerland in historic debut match

Elias Hubbard
February 11, 2018

The official added that Pence is confident that the United States, South Korea and Japan alliance will continue to be strong regardless of inter-Korean talks around the Olympics and whether or not they continue after the games.

As the first medals were being won at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, we got our first glimpse of the North Korean "cheerleaders".

The unified hockey team representing North Korea and South Korea didn't fare so well in their first outing, losing 8-0 to Switzerland.

At the opening ceremony Friday night, Pence was seated in front of Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un's sister and part of the North Korean delegation.

While he was in South Korea, Pence opted to ignore the North Koreans but didn't avoid meeting with them, the official said.

Vice President Mike Pence was "encouraged" by his talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-In at the Winter Olympics, insisting that Moon's outreach to North Korea had not undermined bilateral relations with the U.S.

Moon has been a fervent advocate for opening talks with North Korea, a sentiment largely not echoed in Washington, although in a call with Moon last month, President Donald Trump "expressed his openness to holding talks between the United States and North Korea at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said at the time. White House officials stressed that Pence had applauded only for the American team, but Asia experts said the vice president's refusal to stand could be seen as disrespectful to the hosts.

"The grievances that the world has about North Korea are very legitimate". The Trump administration is still wary of any kind of engagement with the North.

Already there have been concerns that North Korea's overture of the sports diplomacy is an indirect attempt by the regime to wedge a rift between the US and South Korea. He supported Pence's moves to meet with North Korean defectors, paying respects at a memorial to the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack blamed on the North. Pence also invited as his Olympics guest the father of US college student Otto Warmbier, who died after he was imprisoned by North Korea for stealing a propaganda poster.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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