February 25, 2018

U.S. delays ICBM test until after 2018 Winter Olympics

09 February 2018, 01:56 | Darnell Patrick

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While South Korea prepared to welcome Kim Yo Jong, Vice President Mike Pence said in Japan that the preparing to announce the "toughest and most aggressive" economic sanctions against North Korea, boosting pressure on its government during the Olympics.

But the parade was not broadcast live on TV as usual and global journalists were not invited.

North Korea said it detonated a hydrogen bomb designed for a long-range missile on September 3 and called its sixth and most powerful nuclear test a "perfect success", sparking world condemnation and promises of tougher United States sanctions. "But we'll see what happens".

Pyongyang test-fired several ballistic missiles over Japan previous year and detonated a nuclear device.

Pence, who is set to lead the US delegation at the opening ceremonies Friday, made the announcement in Japan on Wednesday after meetings with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

They are scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday.

It began with thousands of goose-stepping troops lined up in Kim Il Sung Square to form words and slogans.

But none of them were spotted in satellite imagery of rehearsals ahead of the parade, according to respected United States website 38 North. Not only did he broker an agreement to bring North Korea to the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang; he convinced U.S. President Donald Trump that doing so was in fact Trump's idea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un also delivered a speech celebrating the country's military prowess.

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In 2016, South Korea's former spy chief said Kim Yo-jong was seen "abusing power", punishing propaganda department executives for "minor mistakes". But Pyongyang indicated it is not interested in meeting with the Pence-led delegation.

On Wednesday, Pence announced the USA would again ramp up economic sanctions aimed at starving the regime of resources.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said Wednesday that the government is reviewing whether to meet North Korea's request to provide fuel to the ferry.

But he left open the possibility of meeting Pyongyang's representatives. She is slated to attend some events of the games, which run February 9 to 25, that the USA will compete in.

The delegation's visit is the diplomatic high point of a sudden warming of ties across the Demilitarized Zone that divides the peninsula, triggered by the Pyeongchang Games.

That ICBM was a new large missile, called the Hwasong 15, that North Korea had not been paraded in April and was of a totally different design from that of the ICBM's launched in July.

"They are here to make fools of South Koreans, and I can not accept that", said 71-year-old Kwon Oh-seok, adding that he had travelled from Seoul, the capital, to protest against the performance.

"My staff came back to South Korea in an empty vehicle".

"May these Olympics be a great feast of friendship and sport", he said, adding that the Vatican was ready to back any "useful peace initiative that favours peace and encounter among peoples".

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