Winter Olympics 2018: Here are the athletes with New Jersey connections

Winter Olympics 2018: Here are the athletes with New Jersey connections

Lindsey Duncan
February 8, 2018

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scheduled to attend the Games opening ceremony in the city of Pyeongchang on Friday, when delegations from North and South Korea will march together under a single flag, and their athletes will compete as a single team in some sports.

"I value the dialogue between North and South Korea", Abe said in a joint news conference. "So I mean this is a good opportunity to all of the world", said one South Korean resident. Analysts say her inclusion in the Olympic delegation shows North Korea's ambition to use the Olympics to break out from diplomatic isolation by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States. "We will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile program once and for all". "But it's there", said Adam Cathcart, a North Korea expert at the University of Leeds in Britain who follows North Korea's music scene closely.

Ms Kim Yo Jong, a senior member of the ruling Workers' Party, will be part of a high-level delegation due tomorrow, the Unification Ministry said.

Tillerson attended a UN Security Council meeting in December, where he addressed the North Korean ambassador.

Joongang confirmed that North Korea requested Seoul allow Kim Yo-jong to enter the country for the Olympics but noted that there is no guarantee that it is legal for South Korea to allow her to enter. 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.

"Everyone knows that North Korea [will] participate in our Olympics".

Pence has not ruled out the prospect of meeting North Korean officials during the Games, but President Trump, whose daughter and adviser Ivanka will attend the Olympic closing ceremony, has cast doubt on the value of U.S. talks with Pyongyang any time soon.

With South Korea making goodwill gestures toward North Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics, Japan and the US are stressing the need for three-way solidarity to maintain pressure on Pyongyang's nuclear and missile development.

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Pence did not rule out a possible meeting with North Korean officials, telling reporters, "we'll see what happens".

The Vice President himself left the door open when asked about comments made earlier by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, which fueled speculation that a meeting was in the works. They also agreed to crack down harder on oil products being smuggled to North Korea in violation of sanctions. Others in the group include Ri Son-gwon, chair of North Korea's Committee for PeacefulReunification, and Choe Hwi, head of the National Sports Guidance Committee.

Kim Yo Jong is vice director of the party's Propaganda and Agitation Department which handles ideological messaging through the media, arts and culture.

Pence said his message about North Korea would be the same, "whatever the setting, whoever is present".

On July 4th, a very similar eight-wheel launcher showed up in a North Korean photo said to show Kim watching the launch of a two-stage intercontinental ballistic missile test.

On Tuesday, a ferry carrying a North Korean orchestra arrived for the Games.

Many South Koreans are welcoming the cooperation, even if it's only temporary.