Kim's sister, South Korean leader Moon to meet at Olympics opener

Posted February 10, 2018

Making his way to Pyeongchang to lead the USA delegation to Friday's opening ceremonies, Pence has embarked on a set of symbolic visits created to draw attention to the North's bad human rights record and nuclear aggression.

Kim Jong Un might also have seen that U.S. President Donald Trump was sending his daughter, Ivanka, to the Olympics closing ceremony and chose to match the move by sending his sister, said Hong Min, an analyst at Seoul's Korea Institute for National Unification.

North Korea marked the founding anniversary of its army with a large military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday, its state media showed on Thursday, having last month changed the date of the celebration to the eve of the Olympics.

The band opened with "Nice To Meet You", an iconic North Korean traditional number that is widely known to South Koreans, followed by "Arirang", a famous Korean folk song that will also be played during the joint entrance of the two Koreas at the opening ceremony, the report said.

Early on Thursday state TV began showing patriotic films in what appeared to be a prelude to a live broadcast. He announced in a joint statement the US would soon announce "the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever".

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North Korea has 22 athletes who will compete in the global sports competition, the two Koreas will walk together under a neutral flag at the opening ceremony.

Kim is expected to arrive on Friday for the Opening Ceremony and stay for three days.

The North's high-level delegation for the Olympics is being led by its ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, the highest-level official ever to visit the South, and also includes Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong - an increasingly powerful and influential figure.

With Pyongyang sending a senior delegation - including Kim Jong Un's younger sister - rumors had circulated such a meeting could be in the works.

But critics in the South say Seoul has made too many concessions to Pyongyang, and demonstrators protested on Thursday as a North Korean orchestra gave a sold-out performance in Gangneung, which is hosting Olympic events.

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Disaster preparedness has become a highly lucrative business in Seoul, where gas mask and ration sales spike every time Kim Jong Un threatens the South. The South Korean president also said he wanted to take full advantage of this opportunity to launch a dialogue toward peace on the Korean Peninsula with the North.

North Korea is under multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, which have seen it develop rockets capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

North Koreans, however, will not be allowed to take the phones back to their home country, either as mementos or personal devices.

She cautioned against seeing the parade as a provocation to disrupt the current conciliatory atmosphere: "All this seems to suggest that [Kim] was being mindful of the spirit of the Winter Olympics "truce" and current geopolitical mood while still needing to go big on an important day for the North".

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