North Korea's military parades hold nuclear clues

Winter Olympics 2018 Schedule for Thursday TV channels and live stream details

An all-female North Korean marching band is seen at a welcome event held for the North's Olympic squad at the Gangneung Olympic Village in Gangneung, a venue for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, on February 8, 2018.

The Mangyongbong 92 last crossed into South Korean waters when it carried a North Korean cheer squad for the 2002 Asian Games in the port city of Busan. "And who takes a higher seat?" the official said, asking not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter.

Pence is bringing a guest to the Olympics to illustrate his point: Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American student who was imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months and died in June 2017 from lack of oxygen and blood to the brain.

North Korea is under multiple sets of UN Security Council sanctions over its banned nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs, which have seen it develop rockets capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

Instead it is retained by Kim Jong-Un's grandfather, the North's founder Kim Il-Sung, who remains Eternal President of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - the country's official name - despite dying in 1994. Critics say Seoul is sending the wrong message to North Korea and also the worldwide community.

A day before the Winter Olympic's opening ceremony in South Korea, the North held a military parade.

This latest diplomatic irritant comes during an awkward phase in relations, as South Korea's government has criticized a 2015 agreement that a previous administration struck with Japan for an apology and compensation for former "comfort women" forced to work in Japan's wartime military brothels.

The IOC advised the Organizing Committee that North Koreans can use the Samsung phone during the games that start Friday and return them before their departure.

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Vice President Mike Pence said on Thursday the United States was "ready for any eventuality" with regard to North Korea and warned that "all options were on the table" to deal with Pyongyang's threats.

A spokesman for the Blue House declined to comment.

The North on Wednesday proposed sending Kim Yo Jong, first vice director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).

He said in a speech to US troops at the Yokota Air Base in Japan that America stood with its ally South Korea. North Korea's nominal head of state and senior statesman, 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam, is expected to join her.

From smartphones to ship fuel, South Korea is wrestling how to balance worldwide sanctions on North Korea with its desire to show the Olympic spirit as it welcomes hundreds of North Koreans for the Winter Games.

South Korea and the US-led UNC force are technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

"It would not look good if North Korea and the United States would sit side by side and remain icy and confrontational the whole time, and those images are broadcast for the whole world to see", Lee said.

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