North to send another senior delegation for Olympic closer


A North Korean official and former intelligence chief thought to be responsible for the deaths of dozens of South Koreans will lead Kim Jong Un's delegation at the conclusion of the 2018 Winter Games; raising the stakes as tensions in the region remain at an all-time high.

The latest visit by officials from the normally reclusive North will coincide with a U.S. delegation led by U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter, Ivanka.

The South Korean government said Thursday that it would allow Kim Yong-chol into its country. He also leads the United Front Department, the agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

"For all those in the media who think I should have stood and cheered with the North Koreans, I say the United States of America doesn't stand with murderous dictatorships - we stand up to murderous dictatorships".

Trump is scheduled to have dinner with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Seoul on Friday and will then attend the Games on Saturday and the closing ceremony on Sunday.

At the opening ceremony, Pence didn't shake hands with Kim Yo Jong, who was just a few feet away.

"We have no intention to meet with the USA side during the stay in South Korea", a Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying by the North's official news agency on February 8, the day Pence arrived in South Korea.

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Vice President Mike Pence was all set to hold a history-making meeting with North Korean officials during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, but Kim Jong Un's government canceled at the last minute, the Trump administration said Tuesday.

On Tuesday, South Korean foreign ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk said efforts to arrange talks between the US and the North ahead of any denuclearization negotiations would potentially be on the agenda during Ivanka's three-day visit.

"Kim Yo Jong's actions match those of her medieval predecessors".

Kim Yong Chol's trip could bolster high-level communications between the Koreas. -North Korea talks as major pillars...

That amount is a fraction of the spending on the rest of the poor, heavily sanctioned North's main delegation to the Winter Olympics, which included 229 cheerleaders and a 137-strong orchestra.

Kim has already made himself take center-stage, using a dramatic opening to South Korea to force the worldwide spotlight onto himself. Ahead of Pence's visit, Trump officials had insisted they'd requested no meeting with North Korea, but notably left open the possibility one could occur.

Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong and the other North Korean officials stayed at the Walkerhill Hotel, a five-star riverside hotel in eastern Seoul.