Vice President Pence to lead U.S. delegation to 2018 Winter Olympics

Kent Nishimura  Getty Images North America

This would mean North Korea was planning its Olympic attendance long before Kim Jong Un said he was "open to dialogue" about the event in his 2018 New Year's Day address.

A White House statement said Trump and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in still underscored the importance of continuing the "maximum pressure" campaign against North Korea over its development of nuclear weapons - the US -led barrage of global sanctions that is starting to bite the North's meager economy.

The State Department said Tuesday that there were no plans for officials of the USA and North Korea to convene during the Games, which are happening amid tensions over the North's nuclear-weapons program, the Journal reported.

The prospects of resolving decades-old tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula remain deeply uncertain.

He told Fox News: "I think what the North Koreans have done, in a classic move, is to try a propaganda ploy".

The online edition of the Rodong Sinmun, the mouthpiece of the North's Workers' Party of Korea, called Thursday on South Korea to cease all military activities conducted with foreign powers - alluding to the USA - in hostility toward its own race.

On January 10, the White House cited Trump's willingness to hold talks "at the appropriate time, under the right circumstances" with Pyongyang.

Pence will also use the visit to conduct security and stability meetings with both Seoul and Tokyo, the press release added.

Notably, he is the fifth actor to be chosen as the goodwill spokesman of South Korea's first Winter Games, following actors Lee Min Ho, Kim Woo Bin and more. He voiced cautious hopes for diplomatic success that would benefit not just the United States but the wider world.


As a candidate, Mr Trump is said to have asked why the USA could not use its nuclear weapons. I see a lot of good energy.

The State Department had said Pyongyang "might be trying to drive a wedge" between Washington and Seoul and weaken a US-led campaign to force North Korea to give up its development of nuclear-tipped missiles capable of hitting the US.

However, in the lead-up to the 2014 Asian Games, South Korea said it would follow worldwide norms that stipulate attending countries should pay their own way.

The North's reaction to these proposals is not known.

The leaders of the two Koreas have met only twice for summit talks during their 70 years of division along the world's most heavily fortified border.

Japan, South Korea and countries that supplied United Nations troops to the South during the Korean War in the 1950s will take part.

"If 2017 for North Korea was a year of struggle to complete its nuclear force to deter USA military threats, 2018, it seems, will be a year of struggle to undermine the power of US -led sanctions - not through compromise and negotiations but, as Kim says in his New Year address, by concentrating 'all efforts on consolidating the independence and Juche character of the national economy.' ..." "If North Korea engages in provocations again or does not show sincerity in resolving this issue, the worldwide community will continue applying strong pressure and sanctions". But despite reports the South raised the issue of Kim's nuclear program, the North's delegation insists that's irrelevant to inter-Korean relations - claiming they wouldn't target South Korea anyway.

"Now people are rhapsodising about joint Olympic teams and marching under the same flag but for the ruling party in South Korea, this is deja-vu".

But the facts tell me I'm wrong, and that North Korea will exploit the Olympics and resume its bad behavior. As a result, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson agreed to co-host with Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland a Tuesday summit on the topic in Vancouver.

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