Korean leader's sister to arrive in S. Korea on Friday. by air

Lucy Bush
February 10, 2018

South Korean tours to the resort were closed after a South Korean tourist was shot by a North Korean guard there in 2008.

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".

"North Korea and South Korea are in a period of major overtures", our correspondent said, .

Vice President Pence is leading the USA delegation in Pyeongchang and has said he is open to meeting with North Korean officials. Asked if war with North Korea is closer than when Trump took office a year ago, Mattis said US policy is "firmly in the diplomatic lane", as shown by agreement among world powers to increase sanctions.

In a speech there, Pence said the USA wants to "make sure North Korea doesn't use the powerful symbolism in the backdrop of the [Games] to paper over the truth about their regime".

In a televised speech at the February 8 military parade in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-Un praised the regime as a "global military power" and vowed "We will have to prevent aggressors from attempting to infringe or ridicule our dignity and sovereignty even by 0.001 millimeter".

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Neither Kim Yo Jong nor Kim Yong Nam are among the North Korean officials blacklisted under United Nations sanctions over the North's weapons programmes, but the US Treasury Department a year ago included Kim Yo Jong on its list of blacklisted officials over her position as vice director of the ruling Workers' Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department.

Analysts have said that with the dual approach, North Korea is looking to normalize its status as a "de facto nuclear state", and could be trying to weaken sanctions against it or drive a wedge between South Korea and its ally, the US.

Unlike the previous parade held in April 2017, North Korean state television did not show the event live, instead airing it hours later.

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

Al Jazeera's Natasha Ghoneim, reporting from the South Korean city of Gangneung, said Kim may have opted to take the more low-key route this year because of the timing of the parade.

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".

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

North Korea has managed to dominate the run-up to the 2018 Winter Olympics - first by just deciding to participate, then by sending a 550 person delegation, and now by staging a massive military parade on the eve of the Games opening ceremonies.

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

Pyongyang has yet to mention any change in their plans to send him, Seoul said.

Says Pence: "The United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever - and we will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs once and for all".

A group of 280 North Koreans arrived in South Korea on Wednesday, including a 229-member cheer squad, taekwondo performers, journalists and the sports minister.

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Other reports by Info About Network

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