Friday, 06 December, 2019


Combined Korean hockey team loses to Swiss in Olympic debut

Bennie Garza | 11 February, 2018, 01:14

With his own sister present at the opening ceremony an under-the-radar attack would have allowed the North's leader to take pleasure in some disruption of the South's big spectacle without inconveniencing his family, unless the sister had big social media plans.

Many experts say Kim's overture is meant to use improved ties with Seoul as a way to weaken US -led worldwide sanctions toughened after its series of big weapons tests a year ago that include its sixth and largest nuclear test explosion and three intercontinental ballistic missile launches.

South Korea, using the Games to break the ice with North Korea, seated its presidential couple alongside US Vice President Mike Pence and his wife, with two of the North's most senior officials sitting in the row behind.

The South Korean president requested both that North Korea re-open dialogue with the United States, and that the Koreas hold talks.

According to a tweet by the Washington Post's Tokyo bureau chief, Ms Kim left a note at the palace expressing hope that "Pyongyang and Seoul will become closer in the heart of Koreans" and for "unification and prosperity in the near future".

Pence had said all week that if he met with the North Koreans, he would deliver a tough message.

Despite high-profile tension between the two neighboring countries since the 1950s, things looked peachy as the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un shook hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The Winter Olympics were hit by cyberattacks in the days leading up to the opening ceremony, with some experts estimating that over 300 Olympics-related computer systems were affected. The United States fought with South Korea and maintains tens of thousands of troops and an "ironclad" agreement to protect its ally.

The inter-Korean Olympic cooperation includes a joint women's ice hockey team that will compete in the games.

Later, the crowd erupted as athletes from North and South Korea marched together under the unification flag for the first time at an Olympics since 2006.

South Korea says the artists will return to the North on Tuesday by a land route. Two players, one South Korean and the other North Korean, appeared on the opening ceremony and climbed stairs together with the Olympic torch that they handed to Olympic champion figure skater Yuna Kim.

The North Koreans were in the room at the same time as Pence, an official said.

There's worry too that the proposed summit Pyongyang may come with preconditions - a North Korean specialty.

He also did not shake hands with Kim Yong Nam while making a brief appearance at a leaders' reception ahead of the ceremony - although Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, whose country is also regularly threatened by Pyongyang, did so, while exchanging pleasantries with the North Korean.

Russian Federation has also denied launching any hacking attacks on the Pyeongchang Olympics, where its team is formally banned following the revelation of systemic doping.

During the event, North and South Korean athletes entered the Olympic Stadium together waving flags of unity in their first joint Olympic march since 2007. The North's political delegation was set to leave Sunday.

Vice President Mike Pence is cheering on US speed skaters at the Winter Olympics, before departing South Korea for Washington on Saturday.

The remarks came in response to a previous tweet from Switzerland President Berset, who had tweeted about his one-on-one meeting with South Korean president on February 8.

Pence said he was inspired by the "bravery" of those who fled across the demilitarized zone - and honored to be joined by Fred Warmbier, who he called a "champion" for the North Korean people.

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