Winter Olympics 2018: North Korea's General Kim Yong-chol to attend

"The Olympics are a great success, thanks to unity achieved by the Korean people", said Chang. The plan centers around rallying the global community to further isolate North Korea both diplomatically and economically. Kim is also blacklisted by both the US and South Korea.

Expectations are growing that Seoul may resume the provision of some humanitarian aid to North Korea, even before Pyongyang pledges to give up its policy of developing nuclear weapons and missiles that can reach the USA mainland. Pence and Kim sat just feet apart in a VIP box at the opening ceremony but they did not acknowledge each other, their frosty attitudes symbolic of the hostile relations between their countries.

North Korea sent almost 500 people, including athletes, musicians and cheerleaders, to the PyeongChang Games and will send a 150-member delegation to the March 9-18 Paralympics. She also met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

Another top North Korean official, Ri Son Gwon, will travel with Kim Yong Chol for the closing ceremony.

It was reported this week that a secret meeting between Pence and some members of the American delegation at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea and the North Koreans was canceled at the last minute. While sports may play a role in politics, North Korea should not be given a pass. Relations with the nation should not improve without a radical shift in worldwide relations and a new commitment to diplomacy.

China said Thursday it was investigating allegations that a ship marked with Chinese characters transferred cargo to a North Korean vessel in a potential violation of United Nations sanctions on the high seas.

Mr Moon will also meet Ivanka Trump, who is due to arrive in Seoul on Friday and will be heading the United States officials at the closing ceremony.

It's official: Ivanka Trump is Olympics bound. However, it can be noted that Ivanka will be staying in the South for four days.

The young women who are included in the group of cheerleaders are generally college students in the 20s who are selected from the most prestigious families and schools in North Korea. Kim was blacklisted by the South Korean government in March 2016 for supporting the North's nuclear and missile programs.

Former UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has said the dialogue between the two Koreas that began during the Winter Olympics must be kept alive so it can hopefully lead to reconciliation, peace and the denuclearisation of North Korea.

None of the athletes has won a medal.

  • Arturo Norris