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Soon, 'toughest ever' U.S. sanctions on N Korea

Soon, 'toughest ever' U.S. sanctions on N Korea”

Lee Hee-beom added that all 193 UN member states, including North Korea, have supported the UN Olympic Truce Resolution for the Winter Games.

Global attention was focused on whether North Korea would demonstrate its nuclear capacity at the parade in a show of force to Washington, following the conciliatory gesture it made toward Seoul at the start of the year.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to attend the Games opening ceremony in the city of Pyeongchang on Friday, when delegations from North and South Korea will march together under a single flag, and their athletes will compete as a single team in some sports.

The official made the comment after US Vice President Mike Pence did not dismiss the possibility of having contact with North Korean officials as he leads a US delegation to the Olympics, which will open Friday.

Pence's trip to Asia comes amid an apparent thaw on the Korean peninsula, spurred by North Korea's participation in what is being hailed the "peace" Olympics in Pyeongchang in the South.

On a refueling stop on his way to Asia, Pence said the aim of his trip was to show American "resolve" in rallying the global community against the Kim regime.

Pence, speaking in Tokyo on his way to South Korea for the Games, said he will soon announce the stepped-up sanctions in an effort to pressure the North to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

Asked whether the United States had drawn closer to war with North Korea during the Trump administration, Mr. Mattis said that American policy "is firmly in the diplomatic lane", and that "we have seen much stronger diplomatic action".

"Our forces are ready and our nation is resolved", Pence said in a speech to US troops at the Yokota Air Base in Japan, as he prepared to fly to South Korea to attend the Winter Olympics.

"We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games", Mr. Pence said.

The parade also featured tanks, armored vehicles, jets flying over the square in formation to make a "70", and thousands of people dressed in red, white and yellow creating the letters "Kim Jong Un" in Korean and the ruling Workers' Party's symbol of the brush, hammer and sickle.

If Pence were to meet Kim Yong Nam, he would be the most senior USA official to meet a North Korean leader since President Bill Clinton met Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok, a special envoy of Kim Jong Un's father, Kim Jong Il, at the White House in October 2000. His son Otto died shortly after being released from North Korean captivity a year ago.

In this image taken from video footage, North Korean military personnel salute as they lay flowers in front of giant statues of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il on Mansu Hill in central Pyongyang, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2018. According to the New York Times, Kim Yo Jong became the youngest member of the Politburo, the main decision-making body of the party.

Kim Yo Jong is a senior propaganda official who is blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury Department for alleged rights abuses and censorship.

If that's the case, it may already be paying off for Kim Jong Un. She and Kim Jong Un were born to the same mother.



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