Published: Fri, February 23, 2018
World | By Paul Elliott

N. Korea to send top-level delegation to closing of Winter Games

N. Korea to send top-level delegation to closing of Winter Games

Already Kim's less notorious sister, Kim Yo-jong, who is not barred from visiting, has had a successful time charming the South Korean and American media.

Ivanka Trump will lead the United States delegation to the closing ceremony of the Olympics in South Korea on Sunday, the latest high-profile visit to Winter Games that have been a hotbed of geopolitics.

South Korea last week approved a budget of KRW2.86 billion (USD$2,640,324) in funding for North Korea's Olympic participation, covering the costs for a 229-member North Korean cheering squad, a 137-member art troupe, a 35-member Taekwondo demonstration team, and 21 reporters.

"This administration will stand in the way of Kim's desire to whitewash their murderous regime with nice photo ops at the Olympics".

The North Korean delegation to February 9 opening ceremony was headed by Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong and nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam.

The face-to-face encounter in South Korea would have been the first between senior officials from the Donald Trump administration and Pyongyang. However, South Korea chose to accept the North's Olympics delegations for the good of the Games, a presidential official in Seoul said on condition of anonymity. The source admitted that countering North Korea's Olympics charm offensive is still a part of her mission.

"The sister of Kim Jong-un is a central pillar of the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet, an evil family clique that brutalizes subjugates, starves and imprisons it's 25 million people", said Pence who also noted that for her role in propagating the regime, she was now under USA sanctions.

While high-level members of the North Korean delegation will also be present at the event, White House officials have asserted that Trump's trip is not meant to facilitate a meeting with the North Koreans.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter (2nd R) and South Korean Defense Minister Han Min-koo (2nd L) visit the Cheonan ship that sank near Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea after an apparent North Korean attack, during his visit to the Second Fleet Command in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, on April 10, 2015.

South Korean Yonhap News Agency called Kim a "hard-liner" whose inclusion in the Olympic delegation "is likely to stir up a controversy as he is blacklisted under Washington and Seoul's unilateral sanctions". The younger Kim invited Moon to a potentially historic meeting with her brother in Pyongyang, although Moon has yet to accept the offer.

A flurry of sports diplomacy between the two Koreas set in after the North's leader expressed a willingness to send a delegation to the Games in his New Year's message. He stayed for only about five minutes at a reception hosted by Moon, and didn't interact with Kim Yong Nam, who was also in the room and slated to sit at the same table.

Since he took office last May, Moon used the venue only once to receive foreign guests - for President Trump last November. They also denied Korean media reports that she plans to meet with North Korean defectors.

Mr Moon's administration has faced questions from lawmakers over whether there have been any differences in opinion or policy between staunch allies South Korea and the United States over efforts to engage North Korea to get it to abandon its missile and nuclear programmes.

Like this: