Pence will use Olympics to push tougher stance on North Korea

Torchbearers bring the olympic flame to the cauldron

Torchbearers bring the olympic flame to the cauldron

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence made only a brief appearance at a reception marking the start of the Winter Olympics on Friday, avoiding a potentially awkward encounter with the ceremonial leader of North Korea attending the same event.

The U.S. Olympic team will be led into Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium by flag-bearer Erin Hamlin.

A private jet carrying the North Korean delegation touched down at South Korea's Incheon International Airport on the outskirts of Seoul around 2 p.m. local time, ahead of the Opening Ceremony.

Pence is in Pyeongchang at the same time as a high-level North Korean delegation including leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, and nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam.

Kim Yo-jong, sister of Kim Jong Un, North Korean leader, will also reportedly be part of a visiting delegation.

Dovish South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who advocates dialogue with the North to ease tensions, is due to have lunch with Yo Jong and other delegates on Saturday - when analysts expect her to deliver a personal message from her brother.

Demonstrators have clashed with riot police at protests against North Korea's participation in the Winter Olympics.

Three years later, the Korean War broke out when the Soviet-backed North invaded the South.

"It's really hard to get the North and the South to get together". A special train had been prepared just for the visitors, a Blue House pool report said.

Security has been tight at these games, with roadblocks and checkpoints set up around each venue.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the 2018 opening ceremony will be similar to the one from four years ago.

Erick W. Rasco
Erick W. Rasco

There were no current Russian Olympians at the opening - 168 will compete in Pyeongchang - but organizers plan to host any medalists later for media events.

Despite some stumbles Friday in the Olympic figure skating event, the USA finds themselves in good shape after the first day of the event.

Marquee American names include skiiers Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin, snowboarders Shaun White and Chloe Kim, and figure skater Nathan Chen.

The Winter Olympics officially began with the Opening Ceremonies in PyeongChang on Friday. "It is pretty cool", he said.

Then the International Olympic Committee banned the Russian team from the games for doping, inviting only selected athletes to compete as neutral Olympians.

Games organisers had refused on Wednesday to give athletes from Iran and North Korea the Galaxy Note 8 devices from sponsor Samsung, loaded with essential logistical and competition information, due to global sanctions.

The appellants had asked CAS to overturn a decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) not to invite them over doping concerns, meaning they won't be joining the 150 competitors cleared to compete as "Olympic Athletes from Russia" (OAR).

Two-time defending US champion Nathan Chen landed the Olympics' first-ever quad flip, but later fell during a triple axel attempt and had other issues during his short program at the PyeongChang Games.

"President Moon reaffirmed to me his strong support of our extreme pressure campaign to continue to bring additional sanctions on North Korea", Pence told reporters.

Abe said before leaving for the Olympics he wanted to convey to the world that that cooperation "will not waver". He couldn't miss this.

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