Winter Olympics: North Korea sanctions tested by Nike, Samsung products

In 1988 Summer Games organizers in Seoul, South Korea, invited the communist government of the North to send a team of competitors.

Kim Yo Jong, believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s, would be the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.

In a televised speech, Kim said that the parade marks North Korea's emergence as a "global military power" despite facing the "worst sanctions".

"Long Live" cried the assembled troops, their breath condensing in the subzero temperatures and some of them in tears at the sight of the leader.

"Allow me to assure you and the people of South Korea that the US will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in maximum pressure until North Korea finally and permanently and irreversibly abandons nuclear and ballistic ambitions", Pence said Thursday. South Korean officials are mulling whether to refuel a North Korean ferry called the Mangyongbong-92 that is carrying performers for participation in the Olympics, as the United Nations sanctions place restrictions on supplying fuel to the North.

Pence has signalled that he'd be open to meeting with North Korean representatives attending the Games, while also saying the USA was ready to act against Kim's regime if necessary.

Pence, who will lead the US delegation to the opening ceremonies Friday evening, met Thursday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in to press for a more clear-eyed approach toward the nuclear-armed neighbor to the north. Moon has looked at the games as an opportunity to pursue a diplomatic opening with North Korea — a move the vice president cautioned against.

Both Kim Yong Nam, the North's ceremonial head of state, who is leading its delegation, and Mr Pence are due to attend the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang on Friday.

Yong-nam is the President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea.

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On Thursday, North Korea said it has no intention of meeting USA officials during the Games, according to the North's official KCNA news agency.

Now, we've also heard that North Korean leader's influential sister, Kim Yo-jong and the North Korean high-level delegation will be arriving tomorrow?

Another potentially contentious issue could be the North Korean delegation's trip by air to the South.

The US "will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games", he said. "Regarding North Korea, all participants are requested not to take the phones back to their home country", the spokesperson added.

Recent high tensions on the Korean Peninsula have unexpectedly ebbed in the build-up to the Olympics, with a string of minor breakthroughs since Pyongyang announced its intention to participate in the Games in South Korea.

Before departing for South Korea, he announced the US would unveil in the coming days "the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever".

Since the 2005 event, North Korea has not sent a cheerleading squad to South Korea.

The Winter Olympics opening ceremony is Friday, Feb. 9, and the closing ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 25.

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