Russian athletes take appeal of Pyeongchang bans to CAS


US Vice President Mike Pence is headed to Japan and South Korea ahead of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

I have to say the competition is so fierce and anything could happen on the ice rink.

Pence is bringing Otto Warmbier's father Fred to the opening ceremony later this week.

North Korea told the South that the 280-member group, which plans to cross the land border Wednesday morning, will also include officials from North Korea's Olympic committee, journalists and members of a taekwondo demonstration team, Seoul's Unification Ministry said. He'll hold symbolic events of his own to highlight the North's human rights abuses and nuclear ambitions, according to White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to preview the trip publicly.

If there were an opportunity for a meeting, "President [Donald] Trump has said he always believes in talking", Pence said, while reiterating that he had not asked for one.

Trump has belittled the North Korean leader as "little rocket man" and on Twitter boasted that his "nuclear button" is larger than Kim's.

This comes at a time of engagement between the two Koreas and reports of disagreement between Washington and Seoul on how to approach the North.

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As for Pence's delegation, the father of late USA student Otto Warmbier's father, Fred Warmbier, will be accompanying the vice president to the Olympic Games opening ceremony.

"With regard to any interaction with the North Korean delegation, I have not requested a meeting", Pence said, speaking in front of an F-22 during a refueling stop in Anchorage.

All North Korean ships have been banned from entering South Korean ports since 2010.

In celebration of hosting, South Korea has invited and agreed to let North Korea participate in the games with it.

Some observers in South Korea have suggested the North has embedded security agents in its IOC-accredited delegation by giving them positions as officials or journalists.

What are relations like between North and South Korea?

But Mr. Pence's potentially conciliatory comments came as North Korea used its state news media Tuesday to issue a series of caustic, personal attacks on Mr. Trump and his State of the Union speech last week, in which he assailed the North's "reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons". The dramatic withdrawal of workers has led to the Korean military being called in to fill the void, sending 900 personnel to fill critical roles - largely centered on the checking of credentials and baggage screening.

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