North Korea tries to steal Olympic thunder with missiles on parade


With the 2018 Winter Olympics due to begin in South Korea, all eyes are on the North Korean delegation to the games.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watched on as tanks and thousands of troops staged a military parade on Thursday, marking seven decades since the formation of the country's armed forces.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who is set to attend the Olympics' opening ceremony with the father of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died shortly after a lengthy captivity in North Korea, said he will soon unveil tougher sanctions against North Korea.

Others have suggested that the decision to not broadcast the parade live - it was recorded and shown later in the day - was evidence that the North was trying to keep a lower profile. He announced in a joint statement the USA would soon announce "the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever".

Cho addressed Trump's predilection for bombastic speech in declining any chance to meet with Pence or the USA delegation while in South Korea. Vice Presidenet Pence landed in the Osan Air Base just a few hours ago and the trip here to the Blue House is the very first on his list of to-do's during his three-day stay in the nation.

United States and senior North Korean officials say U.S. vice-president Mike Pence and Northy Korea's Kim Jong-un's younger sister Kim Yo-jong have "no intention" of meeting each other at the Winter Olympics - even though Mike Pence and Kim Yo-jong will be seated just metres apart at the opening ceremony, a report in The Guardian on Thursday said.

"Our forces are ready and our nation is resolved", Pence said in a speech to US troops at the Yokota Air Base in Japan, as he prepared to fly to South Korea to attend the Winter Olympics.

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Up to 50,000 people were present at the parade in Kim Il Sung square where roughly 13,000 soldiers took part, according to Yonhap, a South Korean news agency.

The UN Security Council, which has slapped a series of sanctions on North Korea for its weapons programmes, imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Choe previous year when he was vice director of the Workers' Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department.

It will be the first time North Korea has attended an Olympics in the South, after they boycotted the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul.

Everyone in North Korea is expected to do their bit for the military, with the regime imposing universal conscription for men and selective conscription for women.

The 2018 Winter Games open in Pyeongchang Friday. "North Korea held the parade to ingrain belief in the people that North Korea has truly become a nuclear power".

The mood in Gangneung, where anticipation has been building for the Winter Games, was optimistic as the North Korean musicians arrived at their venue for a rehearsal on Wednesday.

But Pyongyang official Cho insisted: "The reason that our delegation is in the South is to participate in the Winter Olympics and celebrate its successful hosting".