United Nations exempts sanctions for North Korea's Olympic delegation


The Vice President is traveling to the Olympic Games in South Korea to reinforce the strong US presence on the Korean Peninsula and send a clear message of American resolve to the North Korean regime.

Kim, the sister of the dictator, will be the first member of the North Korean ruling family to visit the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.

On the eve of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games, the US and South Korea vowed to work in tandem towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, but delivered messages suggesting very different approaches in dealing with the threat of North Korea and its weapons development program.

"The concert must be stopped", said Park Byung-seung, who had travelled from Seoul for the protest.

But the delegation features Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Kim.

"You can't have it that one person opens the door and another closes it", he said. "It's our Olympics and we can't wave the South Korean flag".

"We have never begged for dialogue with the United States and will never do so", he said.

Both Kim Yong-Nam, the North's ceremonial head of state, who is leading its delegation, and Mr Pence are due to attend the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang tomorrow, which could put them in the same room at a leaders' reception beforehand.

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

The committee granted the exemption to Choe after no council member raised objections to the request, a council diplomat said.

Despite the misgivings of some South Koreans, tickets for the orchestra's concerts have been in high demand, with 156,000 people applying for 530 pairs of available seats. "The U.S. intends to make North Korea pay for what it did".

Kim Yo Jong is under US sanctions for human rights abuses stemming from her role in the regime's mass censorship activities.

"I think it will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity unless we are reunified", she added. At the same time, the vice president has deliberately left the door open to a possible encounter with North Korean officials expected to be in attendance.

The Samjiyon Orchestra will leave for Seoul after the concert to prepare for their second performance on Sunday.

The participation of North Korea in the Olympics was up in the air, but three rounds of talks also led to the entrance of 22 athletes from North Korea.

But Moon has seen the games as a way to renew relations with North Korea and has called them the "Olympic Games of peace".