North Korea's Military Parade Comes at a Bad Time for Trump

Bitter cold affecting athletes, gear at Winter Olympics

During a visit to Japan, Mike Pence branded North Korea "the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet" as he pushed for the country to abandon its nuclear and missile programmes.

Moon is looking to the Olympics as an opportunity to pursue a diplomatic opening with North Korea after a year of heightened tensions over its nuclear and missile programs.

The Post notes that if the visit goes forward, she would be the first member of the Kim family to ever visit the South, a significant development in the fraught relationship between the two nations. Ties are likely to be further strained by the presence of Kim Yo-jung, the younger sister of the North Korean leader.

The US "will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games".

During the parade, North Korea demonstrated its new intercontinental ballistic missile named Hwasong-15, which it claims can reach the US mainland.

Both Kim Yong Nam, the North's ceremonial head of state, who is leading its delegation, and Mr Pence are due to attend the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang on Friday.

There were also women in uniform dancing in exact unison with swords, making the parade seem - at least for a moment - more like a festive celebration rather than a statement of military strength.

Also in attendance will be a glamorous squad of 229 cheerleaders sent by the North.

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Thursday's parade did include several intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) but was shorter than April's demonstration.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, wearing a black coat and hat, appeared with his wife Ri Sol Ju, who wore a black robe.

Pence reiterated the U.S. position on North Korea as he did following his meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday.

The North had insisted on the event, despite criticism from the USA and others about its timing - a day before the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, which run from 9 to 25 February in the mountain town of Pyeongchang.

Twenty-two North Korean athletes in five sports, including figure skating, speed skating, and a dozen female hockey players competing in a combined Korean team, will enter the Olympic stadium with South Korean athletes behind a unified Korean Peninsula flag.

"North Korea is actively engaging in inter-Korean dialogue on the occasion of the Olympics.

Explicitly speaking, we have no intention to meet with the USA side during the stay in South Korea", read a statement attributed to Cho Yong Sam, director-general of the North American department of North Korea's foreign ministry, published in the state-controlled news agency KCNA on Thursday.

"As long as imperialism remains on the Earth and as long as the United States' hostile policy on North Korea continues, the mission of our military, which is to protect our country and people and secure peace, can never change", he said.

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