South Korea to pay $2.6 million for North's Olympic presence
- Author: Leroy Wright Feb 16, 2018,
Feb 16, 2018, 11:18
In barely a month since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un surprised the world and said his nation was ready to join the Games, South Korean President Moon Jae-in has delayed military exercises, feted Kim's sister at the Pyeongchang Olympics and given conditional consent to a bilateral summit in the North.
The Olympics-inspired detente mood flared after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un abruptly expressed his willingness to send an Olympic delegation.
Kim Jong-un said Kim Yo-jong also relayed the "movement of the United States side" to him, a reference to her brief encounter with USA vice president Mike Pence at the Olympics opening ceremony and a signal that relations with Washington remain frosty despite the rapprochement with Seoul.
"So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify", Pence said.
Seoul on Wednesday approved a $2.6 million budget to cover expenses for North Koreans visiting for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, officials said, after the North's leader praised the South's hospitality.
Kim said he was pleased that Moon and his wife expressed satisfaction with the performances, the report said.
"We want to make sure North Korea understands us, and if there's an opportunity for talks that can communicate the fixed policy of the United States of America to them, the president has made it clear he always believes in talking". "Kim ran an end run on us, and he had some success, at least in the opinion section", one senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
It's reported that dictator Kim Jong Un's wife was a cheerleader in the mid-2000s.
Harris called North Korea's participation in the Olympics an encouraging development, but insisted that any future talks with Pyongyang "must be focused on achieving a complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula".
North Korea agreed to participate in Pyeongchang after the South and International Olympic Committee encouraged the heavily sanctioned state to participate as a gesture of peace.
The KCNA report is the first official reaction from Kim - the third generation of her family to rule the isolated and impoverished North - since his sister's charm offensive in Pyeongchang.
North Korea defends its weapons programmes as essential to counter USA aggression, saying regular war drills between the USA and the South are preparations for invasion.
"I have heard a lot of support from other members just saying this is symbolic, this is what the Olympics is all about", she said. "Their cheering is nearly robotic, so I don't feel comfortable with it", a conservative South Korean newspaper quoted an elderly spectator as saying.