International Olympic Committee extends North Korea deadline for Pyeongchang Games

by Garry Watts January 9, 2018, 1:52
International Olympic Committee extends North Korea deadline for Pyeongchang Games

The Moon Jae-in government of South Korea, which was inaugurated in May a year ago, offered to hold military talks with the DPRK to stop any hostile act near the military demarcation line (MDL) dividing the two Koreas and humanitarian talks for the reunion of separated families.

(,.) The North's delegation will be led by Ri Son-gwon, the chair of the North's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs, who will be greeted by a five-member delegation from South Korea led by Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon.

The South Korean government on Tuesday will announce its official view on the previous administration's 2015 deal with Japan meant to resolve the issue of wartime "comfort women", with several diplomatic sources saying Seoul will call on Tokyo to voluntarily take additional action.

In that same speech, Kim added that North Korea would continue "mass producing" nuclear weapons, which prompted a response from Trump in which he mocked Kim by stating that the USA nuclear button was "much bigger & more powerful", and that his button "works". The North Korean Olympic committee had missed the October 30 deadline to register their participation with the IOC.

Numerous U.S. political figures say Trump's response unnecessarily inflamed tensions with North Korea, but Haley said, "You always have to keep Kim on his toes".

Kim's New Year's Day address was notable for its conciliatory tone toward South Korea, wishing it well for the Winter Olympics and calling for the two Koreas to work together.

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South Korean President Moon and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed last week that the two allies would not conduct the springtime war games, codenamed Key Resolve and Foal Eagle, during the Winter Olympic period.

Moon's government wants North Korea to participate in the February 9-25 games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in hopes of reducing animosities between the rivals, which are separated by the world's most heavily fortified border.

If realized, it will be the first time the two Koreas make a joint opening ceremony entrance at an global sporting event since 2007.

In recent weeks, Trump and Kim have traded barbs about their arsenals and the "nuclear button" on their desks, raising fears the two countries could be drawing closer to war.

Bach has been open to North Korea's participation, and has stated that he supports the idea of the two Koreas fielding a unified team in the upcoming games. It needs to receive an additional quota to compete, and its International Olympic Committee representative, Chang Ung, headed to Switzerland over the weekend for talks with IOC officials, according to Japanese media. "And I think it's now time to start moving American dependents out of South Korea". "But it seems obvious who is leading whom by the nose", the Chosun Ilbo, South Korea's largest newspaper and an influential conservative voice, wrote in a sharply worded editorial. But Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has insisted the delay is a practical necessity to accommodate the Olympics, not a political gesture.

But South Korean conservatives are painting the Moon government as naive in thinking North Korea might be convinced to changed its ways.

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