North Korea 'does not intend' meeting USA during Olympics

North Korea 'does not intend' meeting USA during Olympics

"We have no intention whatsoever to meet U.S. authorities during our visit to the South", a senior foreign ministry official was quoted as saying by the North's official KCNA news agency.

The rumored proposal could be held "sometime this year", according to the report, with some believing it could be on August 15, a national holiday for North and South Korea.

Before meeting Moon, Pence said he would seek a South Korean commitment to "continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically so that we can achieve what the world has longed to see, which is a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula". North Korea held a parade highlighted by intercontinental ballistic missiles one day before South Korea hosts the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

However, the North's high-ranking delegation, including the younger sister of its leader Kim Jong Un, will meet South Korean President Moon Jae-in and have lunch with him on Saturday.

The Winter Olympics delegation visit is reportedly the first by any member of the North Korean dynastic family to South Korea.

And while the vice president pledged that the US would "continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder" with the South on bringing peace to the region, he made no mention of dialogue with the North, and instead called for bringing "maximum pressure to bear on North Korea until that time comes when they finally and permanently and irreversibly abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions".

He also ratcheted up his rhetoric on the North's human rights abuses in a speech to US service members at Yokota Air Base in Japan.

1 of 9 North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, and his wife Ri Sol Ju arrive at a military parade in Pyongyang on February 8, 2018.

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Vice-President Mike Pence is trying to counter North Korean "propaganda" around the Winter Olympics with his own symbolism and rhetoric, shining a spotlight on the North's nuclear weapons program and human rights abuses.

"The U.S. administration [of President Donald Trump] stands firm against North Korea", Kim said.

Pence's personal guest at the games will be Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American who died past year days after his release from captivity in North Korea.

North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Speaking on the conditional of anonymity to describe private conversations, the officials said Moon and Pence agreed that the goal of any opening with North Korea must be denuclearization - even if there are differences in how they'd like to get there.

By placing an emphasis on its poor human rights record, Kim said, the U.S.is providing another reason for the worldwide community to apply pressure on North Korea.

South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon earlier said that the North may hold a "threatening" military parade on the anniversary by mobilizing sizable numbers of military personnel and nearly all of its weapons.

"[The. U.S.] is now raising the alarm that human rights violations in North Korea are serious".

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