Published: Mon, February 12, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

Mattis: North Korea can not drive wedge between the United States and South Korea

Mattis: North Korea can not drive wedge between the United States and South Korea

Kim Yo Jong is the first member of her family to set foot in this country since the north and south were divided and her grandfather, Kim Il Sung, founded North Korea.

A Kyodo News Agency poll also found that 53 per cent of Japanese favoured ramping up pressure to make the North give up its nuclear and missile programmes.

The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, the first Games held in South Korea in 30 years, officially opened on Friday with fireworks, song and symbolism featured amid celebrations of light, peace, and harmony.

Wasn't Russian Federation kicked out of the Games?

The Winter Olympics kicked off from Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Friday night and NBC saw just a slight drop in TV ratings from four years ago.

An inter-Korean summit would be the third of its kind, after Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il met the South's Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun in 2000 and 2007 respectively, both of them in Pyongyang. The website was only normalised at 8am on Saturday, 12 hours later.

At the opening ceremony, Pence and the North Koreans, who were seated in the row behind him, studiously ignored each other, even as Moon and his wife turned around to greet the North Koreans warmly.

The thaw in relations has centred on the Olympics, with a senior American member of the International Olympic Committee calling for the joint ice hockey team, which included 12 North Korean players, to be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

North Korea has also been blamed for a series of cyber incidents including the WannaCry global ransomware attack, which infected 300 000 computers worldwide last May.

Pence is viewing the short-track competition, in which eight Americans are participating.

Kim Yo-jong is the North Korean leader's younger sister.

"On a political level in Seoul, there is no wedge that can be driven between us by North Korea", Mattis said, echoing comments made by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. But while many nations wore long trousers and thick jackets, the delegation from Bermuda wore shorts, lead by athlete Tucker Murphy who is participating in cross-country skiing at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

"Then, and only then, will the world community consider negotiating and making changes in the sanctions regime that's placed on them today", Pence said after a meeting with Moon.

Speaking to reporters on his flight home on Saturday, Mr. Pence said the United States, South Korea and Japan were in complete agreement on isolating North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.

"Chairman Kim Jong Un's envoy Kim Yo-jong delivered a letter expressing a willingness to improve relations", a spokesman for the president said during a press conference.

USA officials have been urging South Korea to be cautious in its rapprochement with the North - a point Pence drilled home in private meetings with Moon on Thursday.

Moon's office says Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, came to the South as his special envoy.

The discussions from Saturday's meeting weren't immediately released.

The two Koreas showcased a joint taekwondo performance here on Friday ahead of the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games.

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