South Korea President to meet Kim Jong Un sister

North Korean cheering squads arrive at the Korean-transit office on their way to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Ahn Young-joon-Pool  Getty Images

North Korean cheering squads arrive at the Korean-transit office on their way to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Ahn Young-joon-Pool Getty Images

As Vice President Pence began his two-stop Asia trip on Wednesday, he highlighted America's ties with longtime USA allies in the region, Japan and South Korea.

"The United States is with you in this challenge", Pence told Abe as they began their talks. Skeptics say the North's outreach to the South over the Olympics is an attempt at weakening US-led sanctions and pressure against the country and at buying more time to advance its nuclear weapons and missiles development.

Lee Hee-beom added that all 193 UN member states, including North Korea, have supported the UN Olympic Truce Resolution for the Winter Games, which is held in the South Korean city of Pyeongchang.

Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S.is preparing to announce the "toughest and most aggressive" economic sanctions against North Korea.

"The United States is committed to provide Japan with additional cutting-edge defense systems, and our nations are now working together to deliver these new defense systems as quickly as possible", said Pence, who earlier in the day at the Japanese defense ministry watched a PAC-3 interceptor missile battery's launcher raised to its firing position.

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In a meeting, Abe and Pence discussed the fact that North Korea has conducted "ship-to-ship" smuggling transfers at sea of goods from other countries, such as refined petroleum products.

A photograph taken on February 5, 2018, shows the North Korean national flag displayed outside their dormitory across 3 storys at the athletes' village in Gangneung, ahead of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

South Korea Winter Olympics will start in the northeastern city of Pyeongchang on February 9.

North Korea has been responsible for "a cycle of broken promises, willful deception and escalating provocations", Pence said. She is leading his country's delegates to the PyeongChang Olympic Games.

In a televised speech, Kim said the parade marks North Korea's emergence as a "global military power" despite facing the "worst sanctions".

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The more hawkish view is the North Koreans are taking a conciliatory stance to put pressure on the alliance between the United States and South Korea.

USA vice president Mike Pence, who arrived in South Korea on Thursday ahead of the Olympics, will meet Mr Moon separately.

"This dialogue must connect to the issue of peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", Moon was quoted as saying by spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom.

"We'll have to wait and see exactly how that unfolds".

The North's high-level delegation for the Olympics is being led by Kim Yong Nam, the highest-level official ever to visit the South, and also includes Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong - an increasingly powerful and influential figure.

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North Korea's last parade marked the 105th birthday of Kim Il-sung in April a year ago . Vice President Mike Pence will also travel to Pyeongchang and join the USA delegation.

USA officials declined to provide details of the expected sanctions beyond Pence's comments, citing concerns that any additional information could be used by those trying to skirt the new measures.

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