North Korea has ′no intention′ to meet US officials during Olympics | News | DW | 08.02.2018
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North Korea has 'no intention' to meet US officials during Olympics

North Korea's state news agency has quoted a foreign ministry official dismissing the possibility of any meeting. US Vice President Mike Pence is set to attend the opening ceremony with the North's head of state.

North Korea has no intention of meeting US officials during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea starting Friday, a senior North Korean official said Thursday.

The announcement comes a day after US Vice President Mike Pence suggested he would be open to a meeting with North Korean officials during the event's opening ceremony.

What North Korea said

  • Official KCNA news agency cited Cho Yong Sam, a senior foreign ministry official, as saying: "We hereby make this clear. We have no intention whatsoever to meet US authorities during our visit to the South."
  • Sam said that Pyongyang's presence at the Games was not diplomatic, but rather to celebrate the event.
  • The North, he added, would not change its view in the future: "[We] never begged for dialogue with the United States and it will be the same going forward."
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Why the North said this now: North Korea's ceremonial head of state, Kim Yong Nam, and Pence are set to be at the Pyeongchang opening ceremony on Friday. Pence raised the possibility of a meeting when he said on a flight to Tokyo that he had "not requested a meeting" with North Korean officials, yet added, "but we'll see what happens."

Tense 'Peace Olympics': This year's event has been billed the "Peace Olympics" after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to send a delegation to Pyeongchang. But tensions between the North and the US, a South Korean ally, sparked by the Pyongyang's recent ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests have cast a long shadow over the Games. Pence announced on Wednesday  the US would seek to pass new sanctions against the isolated country.

Read more: UN chief calls for 'peaceful denuclearization' of Korean peninsula

amp/aw (AFP, Reuters)

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