Published: Fri, February 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

North Korea Holds Military Parade, Shows Off Weapons Ahead Of Olympic Opening

North Korea Holds Military Parade, Shows Off Weapons Ahead Of Olympic Opening

Pence told reporters that despite disagreements over how to approach North Korea, the state of the alliance between the US and South Korea is "strong".

Pence shied away from public criticism of Moon when they met Thursday evening, congratulating South Korea on hosting the games and pledging continued support in addressing the North's nuclear threat.

The Washington Post reported that Pence has invited Fred Warmbier (the father of Otto Warmbier, the American student who was sentenced to 15 years of hard labor while visiting North Korea and died after his return to the United States as a result of being mistreated while in custody) to attend the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games with him Friday evening.

With Pyongyang on an Olympics-linked publicity drive - sending a troupe of performers, hundreds of female cheerleaders and the sister of leader Kim Jong-Un to the South - Mr Pence said the USA "will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games".

North Korea marked the anniversary of the founding of its army with a large military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday broadcast by state media, having last month changed the date of the celebration to the eve of the Olympics.

He also ratcheted up his rhetoric on the North's human rights abuses in a speech to USA service members at Yokota Air Base in Japan. She is said to be very influential in the North Korean leadership - that is to Kim Jong-un - and she has her brother's ear.

North Korea has no intention of meeting USA officials during the Winter Olympics that start in South Korea on Friday, state media said, dampening hopes the Games will help resolve a tense standoff over the North's nuclear weapons programme.

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Pence also left open the possibility of meeting with North Korea's delegation.

"Our resolve to stand with you is unshakable", Pence said.

Among Pence's guests at the Winter Games will be Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier-an American student who died days after his release from detention in North Korea previous year.

"Bringing Otto Warmbier's family along highlights the nature of the North Korean regime and shows where the US stands", he said.

"We're traveling to the Olympics to make sure that North Korea doesn't use the powerful symbolism and the backdrop of the Winter Olympics to paper over the truth about their regime", he said, calling Pyongyang "a regime that oppresses its own people, a regime that threatens nations around the world, a regime that continues its headlong rush to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles".

"[The. U.S.] is now raising the alarm that human rights violations in North Korea are serious".

Speaking on the conditional of anonymity to describe private conversations, the officials said Moon and Pence agreed that the goal of any opening with North Korea must be denuclearization - even if there are differences in how they'd like to get there. By highlighting this issue on the global stage, it is their plan to apply greater pressure on the North.

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