South Korea asks United Nations for sanctions exemption for North Korea

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These comments were meant to be heard in South Korea, where President Moon Jae-in's administration has started a dialogue with Pyongyang, using the upcoming Olympics as an opening.

The opening will also be attended by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who vowed tough new sanctions against Pyongyang over its nuclear and missile programs on Wednesday and called it the world's most tyrannical regime. US officials declined to provide details of the expected sanctions.

With Pyongyang on an Olympics-linked publicity drive - sending a troupe of performers, hundreds of female cheerleaders, and the sister of leader Kim Jong-Un to the South - Pence said the U.S. "will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games".

But those missile launches also showed that US intelligence efforts may not always glean North Korea's capabilities from what can be seen in its parades. North Korea is, in theory, ruled by "Eternal President" Kim Il-Sung; Kim Jong-un weighs six titles, one of them being "Supreme Commander".

The Unification Ministry in Seoul announced on February 7 that Kim Yo-Jong, who is believed to be about 30-years-old, will be part of a high-ranking North Korean government delegation attending the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Games on February 9.

Kim Yo Jong would be the first member of the Kim family, born on the sacred Mount Paektu, which is a centerpiece of the North's idolization and propaganda campaign, to cross the border to the South.

Another delegation member, sports official Choe Hwi, could present a diplomatic headache as he is subject to a travel ban under United Nations sanctions.

Hong, the analyst, said Kim Yo Jong's presence would give North Korea a better opportunity to win South Korean help in reaching out to the United States.

Kim Yo Jong is not only the leader's sister, but a senior official at the ruling Workers' Party, the ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

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Hundreds of North Koreans have arrived in South Korea ahead of the Opening Ceremony on Friday.

"With regard to any interaction with the North Korean delegation, I have not requested a meeting, but we'll see what happens", he said. What's Kim Jong Un's relations to the generals? They had a half brother, Kim Jong Nam, who was murdered previous year at a Malaysian airport.

Tensions soared previous year as the North carried out multiple weapons tests, including intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the USA mainland, and by far its most powerful nuclear test to date.

"We'll be telling the truth about North Korea at every stop", Pence told reporters after touring missile defense facilities Monday that monitor and could respond to a launch by the North.

An outbreak of norovirus at Olympic venues in PyeongChang, South Korea, appears to be spreading, with the number of cases more than doubling overnight.

North Korea is set to mark the founding anniversary of its army with a large military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday, having last month changed the date of the celebration to the eve of the Olympics.

The North, however, has agreed with South Korea to send 22 athletes and a 230-strong cheering squad to the Winter Games starting on Friday. "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.

In December, the United Nations responded with its harshest sanctions yet against Pyongyang after the rogue state launched an intercontinental ballistic missile and claimed it it could reach the U.S. mainland.