North Korea military parade ahead of Winter Olympics

The delegation will travel by plane on Friday, landing at Incheon airport near Seoul, the South's unification ministry said.

The ministry said it would discuss reopening the park, "when the North Korean nuclear issue has to some extent entered a phase of a resolution". But tours to the region ended when a South Korean tourist was shot in 2008 by a North Korean guard.

"We'll continue to peacefully dismantle North Korea's nuclear program and alleviate the suffering of its people", Pence said. However, "given the patriarchal nature of North Korea's political culture, she is not a candidate for succession", Michael Madden, a North Korea expert at Johns Hopkins University, told DW in 2014.

Before leaving Japan for Korea, Pence announced that the USA would unveil in coming days "the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever". The South hosts 28,500 US troops, a legacy of the war.

But while it was a huge event at face value, the parade was not broadcast live on North Korean state-controlled television until after the event took place, and it appeared to be edited footage.

If that's the case, it may already be paying off for Kim Jong Un.

Ties are likely to be further strained by the presence of Kim Yo-jung, the younger sister of the North Korean leader. Kim Jong Un has sent a contingent of athletes and cheerleaders to Pyeongchang, with his sister, Kim Yo Jong, at their head.

While the main organiser of the Olympics said the display would not affect the "dynamics" of the event, the United States had said it would prefer the North did not go ahead with it.

Live footage posted online showed a much less grand affair than the parade in April a year ago to mark the 105th birthday of the country's founding father Kim Il-sung. Trump has directed officials to plan a military parade for him, which the Pentagon and White House have confirmed is in the planning stages.

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But his comments did not rule out a meeting - and nor has Pence.

North Korea staged a military parade in Pyongyang Thursday, in a show of strength just a day before the Winter Olympics open in the South.

Speaking at a military parade held in Pyongyang to mark the 70th anniversary of armed forces, Kim Jong-un stated that North Korea was a "world-class military power".

Kim Yo Jong, believed to be around 30, would be the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets with Moon on Friday.

Officials in Seoul said the dictator's decision to send his closest confidant and a high-ranking member of the Workers' Party reflected positively on efforts to ease tensions in the region.

The UN Security Council, which has slapped a series of sanctions on North Korea for its weapons programmes, imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Choe past year when he was vice director of the Workers' Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department.

Almost 300 North Koreans crossed the Demilitarized Zone between the two countries on Wednesday to participate in the Olympics, including 229 women that were part of a large "cheering squad", The Washington Post reported.

  • Megan Austin