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February 19 2018, 07:54 | Irvin Gilbert
Rep. Woo Won-shik floor leader of the ruling Democratic Party speaks during a party meeting on Feb. 9 2018
But privately, officials said, Pence expressed concern to Moon about his more conciliatory tone toward North Korea.
They were followed by trucks, artillery, tanks and four giant Hwasong-15 intercontinental ballistic missiles, as well as a band forming the Korean word for "victory".
Pence declined to offer specifics on exactly what the new package of sanctions would consist of. "That's promoting Kim Jong Un and North Korea's ideology".
"The plan is to apply maximum sanctions and pressure, so it can be speculated that Vice President Pence's stance would be on the same line, following President Trump's talks with North Korean defectors", he added, referring to a meeting the president held at the White House with eight defectors last week.
There had been hopes the event would provide a chance for senior figures from the Kim regime to open up a dialogue with United States representatives, if only on the sidelines.
Han was invited by Moon and Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, to attend the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Friday.
"It looks like North Korea had potential reaction from the worldwide community in mind and toned down the scale and message of the event a lot", said North Korean studies professor Lim Eul Chul of Kyungnam University.
Kim Yo Jong is Kim Jong Un's only sibling who is a member of North Korea's leadership. In addition to showing support for our US athletes, the Vice President will show his confidence in and appreciation for our USA military stationed in the region.
Pence arrives in Seoul on Thursday for meetings with President Moon Jae-in just as South Korea seizes on the games for a diplomatic opening with the North, including the first visit of North Korea's ruling family since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War.
Choe was sanctioned in June previous year as a senior director of the propaganda and agitation department of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party.
"We have never begged for dialogue with the United States and will be the same in the future", Cho Yong-sam, a director of the North's Foreign Ministry, was quoted as saying by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Thursday.
"We are not going to use such a sports festival as the Winter Olympics as a political lever", the official reportedly said. Pence is pushing South Korea to adopt a more hawkish stance toward the North and warning against North Korean "propaganda" efforts at the games.
In Washington, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Wednesday that Pence is "quite capable of making the call" on whether to meet with North Korean officials at the Olympics.
North Korea is under multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, which have seen it develop rockets capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.
"I have not requested a meeting, but we'll see what happens", he said. "But we'll see what happens".
But the South announced on Thursday its president would meet the North's Olympics delegation on Saturday.