Published: Sun, February 11, 2018
Culture | By Stewart Greene

"No daylight" between Washington and Seoul: Pence


"There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile program", Mr Pence told reporters on a flight back to the US from South Korea.

Pence reiterated Friday that the North must "put denuclearization on the table and take concrete steps with the world community to dismantle, permanently and irreversibly, their nuclear and ballistic missile programs". A senior White House official described Pence's tact as ignoring the North Koreans, but not avoiding them.

"The grievances that the world has about North Korea are very legitimate".

"And Dennis Rodman has confirmed this and he's met both of them personally", he added, referring to the former National Basketball Association star who has met with Kim several times.

A senior U.S. official said Pence and Moon, while watching speed skating together on Saturday night, discussed intensifying sanctions. Asia experts said Pence's sour conduct toward the North Koreans could be seen as disrespectful to the South Korean hosts, who were demonstrating a moment of harmony with the North.

Some local media reported system problems, including the Games website and some television sets, were due to a cyberattack but Sung said it was still too early to determine whether hackers had attempted to damage them. "Then and only then will the world community consider negotiating and making changes in the sanctions regime that's placed on them today". The idea is, there will be no progress on negotiations without first seeing progress on denuclearization. Meanwhile, sanctions will continue to be strengthened.

Kim Jong-il, Kim's father, had met with two South Korean presidents in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, before his death in 2011: with President Kim Dae-jung in 2000, and with President Roh Moo-hyun in 2007. -South Korea joint exercises planned for April. The other objective for Pence's appearance was to see Moon for a final time, forging one more photo op of the two, in light of the events of the day. If North Korea won't show real flexibility, the Trump administration will be off the hook and Moon's diplomatic gambit will have failed. North Korea has said its nuclear weapons are not for bargaining away.

And North Korea reciprocated by sending high-profile officials, including leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister Yo Jong and the North's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam, as well as athletes.

What did seem clear was that, deliberately or not, the North Korean government had managed to edge its way onto center stage during the South's biggest global moment in years.

The North Koreans, wearing full-length red jumpsuits and arranged in tidy rows on each side of the rink, at times competed for the crowd's attention against mini-skirted dancers from the South, dressed completely in black and knee-high boots. He'd been dispatched from Washington for the Olympics in part, he said, to make sure the world didn't forget that North Korea was a misbehaving and risky neighbor in the community of nations.

Pence was scheduled to leave for the United States on Saturday night. But the diplomatic games have really just begun.

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