North Korean venues deemed apt for joint practices: Seoul's Ministry of Unification

South Korea will use a chartered plane to fly its skiers to North Korea for joint training and will not pay the airport fee to the North, as such a payment would violate worldwide sanctions, Seoul officials said Monday.

Approval was given for the united team by the International Olympic Committee.

Earlier, it was reported that North Korea had shipped coal to Russian Federation previous year which was then delivered to South Korea and Japan in a likely violation of United Nations sanctions.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis stressed diplomacy as the way to deal with the North Korean crisis on Friday during talks with his South Korean counterpart in Hawaii, a day after Seoul's top diplomat said a military solution would be unacceptable.

South Korea sent officials to North Korea to check preparations at the scenic Diamond Mountain resort and a training session between non-Olympic skiers at the Masik ski resort the countries plan to hold before the Olympics.

"The defense of South Korea is a treaty alliance with us", Mattis told reporters Thursday after traveling to Indonesia and Vietnam.

This photo, provided by South Korea's unification ministry on January 26, 2018, shows Masikryong Ski Resort in North Korea.

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That the war of words between the Trump administration and North Korean President Kim Jong-un had entered a unsafe new phase, with rhetoric backed by an explicit threat, would not have been lost on Kim and his advisers.

But the secretive Communist state has since shipped coal to the Russian ports of Nakhodka and Kholmsk at least three times, where it was unloaded at docks and reloaded onto ships that took it to South Korea or Japan, sources said.

Concern that the North Korean security situation could deteriorate after next month's Winter Olympics in South Korea is likely behind Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's decision to attend the opening ceremony despite tensions between Tokyo and Seoul over the scars of their shared past.

Some South Korean athletes are disdainful at the prospect of giving up their hard-earned spots for North Korean athletes, according to The New York Times.

Nor were the images the first to make it into the public eye with USA intelligence providing similar photographs to a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing in September previous year.

South Korea had asked the North to provide the power to hold the concert, according to the government official.

The administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has said all options are on the table when it comes to North Korea's pursuit of a nuclear-tipped missile capable of striking the United States.

  • Megan Austin