Pence planned to meet North Koreans at Olympics, but Pyongyang canceled

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A high-level delegation had arrived in Pyeongchang in South Korea for a three-day visit last week that was led by the North Korean ceremonial head of state, Kim-Yong nam.

Apparently Pyongyang proposed the meeting in hopes that the Trump administration would "soften its message", according to Pence's Chief of Staff Nick Ayers.

Vice President Pence stands alongside Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's Kim Jong Un during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

A DATE for the start of delayed US and South Korean military drills will be announced soon after the Paralympics end next month, Seoul's Defence Minister said today.

"At the last minute, DPRK officials decided not to go forward with the meeting".

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The State Department said that Pence had been "ready to take this opportunity" but would have used it to insist Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

The US and North Korea have always been engaged in back-and-forth barbs over the latter's threat of a nuclear attack, ever since Trump took over as the US President previous year.

"In the dining hall two days ago, I saw the North Koreans in lineup at McDonald's and I was also in line at McDonald's", she said, quoted in Yonhap news agency.

Moon had responded to North Korea's invitation with both optimism and caution as he is expected to walk a fine diplomatic line over the matter.

Nauert said the United States would not apologize for calling attention to human rights abuses or for mourning Warmbier's death.

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Earlier, South Korean President Moon Jae In had rejected the call by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for the resumption of joint military drills.

"We've never begged for dialogue with the USA and it will be the same now and forever", Jo Yong Sam, a senior foreign ministry official, was quoted as having said by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on February 8. The media, in fact, gave glowing press coverage to Kim Yo Jong, the sister of dictator Kim Jon Un and the regime's deputy director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department.

Pence agreed to the meeting even before leaving for his trip, the Washington Post reported.

However, North Korea reportedly objected to Pence's announcement of the sanctions, as well as his meeting with North Korean defectors at the White House last month.

"In the past, North Korean athletes and coaches who performed badly were sent to prison camps", the source added.

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General Vincent Brooks, who heads the USA contingent of 28,000 troops on South Korean soil, assured a United States parliamentary committee last week that both countries will carry out once a year their on-the-ground training, regardless of the inter-Korean rapprochement.

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