N KOREA holds military parade ahead of Winter Olympics

Yuna Kim. Credit Sfc

Friday's ceremony will be attended by North Korea's delegation, including its nominal head of state, Kim Yong Nam.

"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".

Moon, meanwhile, plans to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, and other senior officials from the North when they travel to South Korea to lead a delegation of 22 athletes and more than 400 entertainers and cheerleaders to the Winter Olympics.

Sister of North Korean leader to come to South for Olympics.

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told reporters all sides, not just the two Koreas, needed to work hard and dialogue between the United States and North Korea should be expanded for this to happen, Wang said.

But privately, officials said Pence expressed concern to Moon about his more conciliatory tone toward North Korea.

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.

"You can't have it that one person opens the door and another closes it", he said. The South hosts 28,500 USA troops, a legacy of the war.

Pence traveled to South Korea to lead the US delegation to Friday's opening ceremonies, but has used his trip to participate in symbolic events meant to shine a spotlight on North Korea's nuclear program and human rights abuses. The trip's significance was underscored by the revelation Wednesday that the delegation would include Kim Yo Jong, the only sister and a trusted aide of Kim Jong Un, the North's supreme leader. In 2000, her father, Kim Jong Il, held a summit meeting in North Korea with Kim Dae-jung, then South Korea's president, but did not keep his promise to visit for a second meeting.

"We have destroyed the enemy's risk-taking provocations at every move", Kim Jong Un said in a speech.

Analysts said the parade seemed smaller than those of previous years, but was still focused on the North's goal of strengthening its nuclear missile capabilities.

Additionally, North Korea held a stand-offish military parade in the capital Pyongyang Thursday to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Peoples' Army (KPA)-complete with intercontinental ballistic missiles, tanks, and goose-stepping troops-which Kim Jong Un said signaled the North's emergence as a "global military power" in spite of the "worst sanctions".

The Security Council sanctioned Choe on June 2 a year ago when he was vice director of the Workers' Party of the Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department, which controls ideological messaging through the media, arts and culture.

Pence also warned against allowing North Korea to use the Olympics for propaganda purposes.

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