North Korea Holds Military Parade on Eve of South Korean Winter Olympics


"South Korea and the United States learned that North Korea's military parade started at 11.30am [Seoul time] at Kim Il-sung Square in the capital city", the South's Yonhap news agency said, quoting an unnamed source. The two countries will enter the ceremony together this year, and they are fielding a women's hockey team medal competition with athletes from both countries.

Mr Abe, who like Mr Pence will travel to South Korea's Pyeongchang for the Winter Games, said he had told Mr Pence: "We can never accept a nuclear-armed North Korea".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gave a speech at the parade, touting the country's emergence as a "global military power" and calling for the military to be prepared to stop the United States from interfering with "the republic's sacred dignity and autonomy even by 0.001 millimeters", according to an Associated Press report.

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. Kim Yo-jong, who is the senior executive of the Korean Labor Party, will be part of a high-level delegation expected Friday in South Korea.

"I look forward to hearing your perspective and sharing ours about confronting the menace and threats from the regime of North Korea", said Pence.

It is due to attend the Games' opening ceremony on Friday, as is US Vice President Mike Pence.

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S. Vice President further said that the goal of his trip was 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".

Speaking to U.S. and Japanese troops at the Yokota Air Base outside Tokyo, Pence vowed to continue the "maximum pressure campaign" on North Korea in a bid to force Pyongyang to give up its nuclear missile program.

At the meeting with Moon, Pence said that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the most important issue in Seoul-Washington relations, and that the USA "stands shoulder to shoulder" with South Korea.

The younger sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is also heading to the Olympics.

As a throng of reporters from at home and overseas looked on, the band from the squad played some music, including a pop tune that was composed by a North Korean and is also well-known in the South.

A South Korean figure skating pair competing in the Winter Olympics will perform to a popular Korean folk ballad with a couple of words cut to avoid offending Japan over a reference to disputed islands, South Korean officials said on Wednesday.