Peace Network Korea
PN's Voice 126, 08.02.2018
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PN's Voice No. 126, 08. 02. 2018
Small steps, Road to peace
North Korea To Hold Military Parade on Eve of Olympics
North Korea is set to hold a massive military parade to mark the 70th anniversary of its armed forces' foundation on Thursday on the eve of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics' opening ceremony. According to the South Korean military, about 50-thousand North Koreans including some 13-thousand troops, are practicing for the parade at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang. However, US based research centre 38 North, said that satellite imagery suggest missile launcher hadn’t yet been used the parade practices.
North Korea invited reporters from the U.S. and Japan to the parade last month, but recently decided to revoke the invitations. The North reportedly did not even invite Chinese officials to the parade. North Korea has recently designated February eighth as its armed forces' day, raising concerns that the event may dampen a reconciliatory mood created by its participation in the Olympics in the South.
Source: BBC, CNN News
Kim Jong-un's Sister to Attend Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony
Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, will attend the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea on Friday, becoming the first member of Kim’s immediate family to cross the border. Seoul’s unification ministry said it had been notified by Pyongyang of Kim Yo-jong’s landmark trip. The ministry said the inclusion of Kim Yo-jong in the delegation was “meaningful” because she is a senior official in the ruling Workers’ party.
Kim Yo-jong’s trip could provide a source of contention between Seoul and Washington, as she was blacklisted last year by the US treasury department over human rights abuses and censorship. Having previously appeared only occasionally and in the background at public events, Kim Yo-jong has taken a more prominent role recently, assisting her brother at numerous state ceremonies.
Prof Koh Yu-Hwan, of Dongguk University, said Pence’s planned presence in Pyeongchang may have been a factor in Kim’s decision to send his sister. “Her trip will create a media frenzy, stealing the show from Vice-president Pence who wants to highlight the North’s human rights abuses and sanctions-defying nuclear drive.” Shin Beom-chul, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul, added: “One of the positives of her visit is that she is someone able to deliver a direct message on behalf of Kim Jong-un.”
Source: The Guardian, Joongang Daily
Tillerson Open to Talks with N. Korea during Olympics
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has indicated that the U.S. is open to possible talks with North Korea during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics. Tillerson speaking on Tuesday about Vice President Mike Pence will leading the U.S. presidential delegation to the opening ceremony said that "whatever happens while the vice president is there, we'll just have to see." Speculation is rife about whether he will meet with members of North Korea's official delegation backstage at the games. Neither Tillerson nor Pence ruled out possible contact with North Korean representatives saying "we'll see what happens."
Tillerson said that what North Korea is receiving from the South Koreans is no more than what all the participants who are attending the Olympics are receiving, adding North Korea will be participating in the Olympics as an equal player. He was also keen to point out that North Koreans will not be gaining more from its participation in the PyeongChang Games than any other nation and there is no cash or anything being paid to the North Koreans for their participation in the Olympics. KBS News
N.K. says no Willingness to Meet with U.S. at Olympics
Contrary to Rex Tillerson’s aforementioned openness to meeting with North Korea, the North Korean state media has quashed any hopes of a high-level delegation meeting during the PyeongChang Olympics. "We have never begged for dialogue with the U.S. and will be the same in the future," a director of North Korea's foreign minister was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). “We clearly state that we don't have a willingness to meet with the U.S. side during our visit to South Korea."
The two Koreas have engaged in sports diplomacy since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un extended a rare olive branch to Seoul in his New Year's Day message, after years of tensions sparked by the North's nuclear and missile provocations. But some experts said that the North is taking a "deceptive" peace offensive to weaken international sanctions and drive a wedge in the decades long alliance between Seoul and Washington by sending a delegation to the games. Yonhap News
Moon to Meet US Vice President, Hold Summit with World Leaders
President Moon Jae-in will meet with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and hold summit talks with world leaders on Thursday on the eve of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics' opening. The president will have dinner with Pence at the presidential office, who is set to arrive in the country with his wife on Thursday, leading the U.S. presidential delegation to the Olympics. During the meeting, Moon is expected to express gratitude for the U.S.’ support for the successful hosting of the Olympics and reaffirm close cooperation between the two allies in efforts to improve inter-Korean relations and resolve the North Korean nuclear issue. The president is also likely to tap into the possibility of talks between Washington and Pyongyang to seek a peaceful and diplomatic resolution of the North Korean nuclear crisis.
Moon will also meet with Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee member Han Zheng, who will be visiting as Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy. The president will likely express his appreciation of China's support toward Seoul's efforts to improve its relations with North Korea and ask for Beijing's support in urging the North to return to dialogue. KBS News
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