Thursday, February 22, 2018 | ePaper

BREAKING NEWS:

After S Korea visit, Pence insists 'no daylight' on North

  • Print


United States' Vice President Mike Pence and South Korean President Moon Jae-in laugh during the ladies' 500 meters short-track speedskating in the Gangneung Ice Arena at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea on Saturday

AP, Aboard Air Force Two  :
Vice President Mike Pence's efforts to keep North Korea from stealing the show at the Winter Olympics proved short-lived, drowned out by images of the two Koreas marching and competing as one.
And as the South appeared to look favorably on warming ties on the Korean Peninsula, Pence insisted Saturday "there is no daylight" among the United States and allies South Korea and Japan in intensifying pressure on the North over its nuclear and missile programs.
Pence spent the days leading up to the Pyeongchang Olympics warning that the North was trying to "hijack the message and imagery" of the event with its "propaganda." But the North was welcomed with open arms to what South Korean President Moon Jae-in called "Olympic games of peace."
It was the U.S. that appeared to be the one left in the cold, especially after the sister of the North Korean dictator extended an invitation from her brother for Moon to visit the North. That was the clearest sign yet of an expanding diplomatic opening opposed by the Trump administration.
Pence said Moon updated him about the meeting he had with North Korean officials and "both of us reiterated to each other tonight that we will continue to stand strong and work in a coordinated way to bring maximum economic and diplomatic pressure to bear on North Korea."
Moon was all smiles as he greeted Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Kim Yong Nam, the country's 90-year-old nominal head of state, for lunch at the presidential residence.
Pence said Friday that the U.S. would oppose talks between the two Koreas until the North agreed to open negotiations on ending its nuclear program.
On his flight to Alaska on Saturday, the vice president said he left Asia "encouraged that we will continue to work very closely to continue and intensify the maximum pressure campaign" against North Korea.
He said war had forged "the core of the bond" between the U.S. and South Korea and that helps explains "why there is no daylight and there will be no daylight" between the two.
At the opening ceremonies Friday, Pence sat stone-faced in his seat as Moon and North Korean officials stood together with much of the stadium to applaud their joint team of athletes. White House officials stressed that Pence had applauded only for the American team, but Asia experts said the vice president's refusal to stand could be seen as disrespectful to the hosts.
U.S. officials have been urging South Korea to be cautious in its rapprochement with the North. But North Korea's record on human rights and the growing threat from its nuclear weapons program appeared out of mind.
Even Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who has shared the American skepticism of warming North-South relations and pressed Moon against falling for the North's "smile diplomacy," greeted Kim Yong Nam.
At a Friday VIP reception for delegation leaders, Pence arrived late and stayed for just five minutes - and did not interact with the delegation from the North.
"The Koreans will think it's a mood kill," said Frank Jannuzi, an expert on East Asia at the Mansfield Foundation in Washington. He criticized the Trump administration for straining too hard to signal disgust of Kim Jong Un's government.

More News For this Category

Trump backs improved background checks on gun buys

Trump backs improved background checks on gun buys

US President Donald Trump signaled support Monday for improving background gun checks amid mounting pressure for reform in the wake of the Florida school shooting, as the accused gunman appeared

Nepal wants to deepen ties with China: K P Oli

Nepal wants to deepen ties with China: K P Oli

PTI, Kathmandu : Nepal's new Prime Minister K P Oli has said he wants to deepen ties with China to explore more options and get more leverage in his dealings with

Maldives President seeks approval to extend state of emergency

Maldives President seeks approval to extend state of emergency

Reuters, Male :Maldives President Abdulla Yameen on Monday sought parliamentary approval to extend a state of emergency by 30 days, saying a threat to national security had not diminished and

Iran teams find wreckage of plane in Zagros mountains

Iran teams find wreckage of plane in Zagros mountains

AFP, Tehran, Iran :Iranian search teams found the wreckage on Tuesday of a plane that went missing in the Zagros mountains two days earlier with 66 people on board, a

News In Brief

Trump endorses Romney in run for Utah Senate seatReuters, Washington President Donald Trump on Monday endorsed former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's run for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah

US, S Korea to go ahead with Olympic-delayed drills

AFP, Seoul :The US and South Korea will go ahead with joint military drills after the Paralympics, both of them confirmed Tuesday, despite the exercises always infuriating Pyongyang and the

Palestinians stuck in `bad conditions` at Cairo airport

Palestinians stuck in `bad conditions` at Cairo airport

Al Jazeera News  :Some 160 Palestinians, who are heading back to the Gaza Strip, have been stuck in Cairo's airport for the last 13 days as Egyptian authorities deny

Pakistan's Imran Khan ties knot to 'Spiritual Adviser' in 3rd marriage

Pakistan's Imran Khan ties knot to 'Spiritual Adviser' in 3rd marriage

Reuters, Islamabad :Pakistani cricketer-turned-politican Imran Khan has tied the knot for the third time, his party said on Sunday, confirming his marriage to a woman local media call a

Thai ex-PM Thaksin calls for party unity ahead of promised election

Reuters, Bangkok :Fugitive former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra met lawmakers from his Puea Thai Party in Hong Kong where he called for party unity ahead of an approaching

Iran resumes hunt for missing plane with 66 on board

AFP  :Iranian rescue teams battled severe weather Monday as they searched for a passenger plane that disappeared high in the Zagros mountains the previous day with 66 people on