'White House Remains Firm on North Korea Response

South Korean skeleton racer Yun Sung-bin made history when he became the first Asian athlete to win a gold medal in the winter sport

North Korea intelligence chief Gen Kim, who is the former head of Pyongyang's spy agency the Reconnaissance General Bureau, will be among the eight-member delegation which will stay in South Korea for three days, and is expected to meet Mr Moon.

His trip comes during a period of Olympics-driven rapprochement between the two Koreas that follows years of tensions sparked by the North's nuclear and missile programs.

The measures targeted 27 shipping and trading companies, 28 vessels and one person, all suspected of helping North Korea circumvent current sanctions.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in highlighted to Trump how the Olympics have served as a vehicle for dialogue between the two Koreas, and said the US and South Korea should make use of the current mood of rapprochement between the Koreas in seeking denuclearization.

Mr Kim Hyung Soo, 54, defected to South Korea in 2009 with his son, a skier who competed in the North Korean national league. She now heads the New Korea Women's Union, a group that helps female defectors adjust to life in South Korea and provides treatment for those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The government says Kim is in charge of inter-Korean relations and that he is coming to discuss denuclearization and ways to improve ties.

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The arrival of the North's delegation coincides with a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka to the South, fanning speculation about a possible meeting between officials from the United States and North Korea on the sidelines of the Olympics.

For now, there are no signs that Trump would have contact with or meet Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, who is to attend the ceremony. US officials said the president had discussed the action with Moon ahead of the announcement in Washington. She went on to add, "I'll teach my children Korean so that next time [we visit], I can have them sing K-pop in front of you and your wife". But it seems highly unlikely that the USA and North Korean envoys will formally meet each other.

North Korea sent its athletes to the Winter Olympic Games, where they walked together with South Korean athletes at the opening ceremony. She has already arrived in South Korea and has been seen dining with President Moon Jae-in and attending sporting events.

Experts have warned that North Korea's attendance at the Olympics and an apparent thaw in relations with its southern neighbour were are aimed at driving a wedge between the allies.

Others questioned the president's assertions that they could not find a better person to represent the country at the Games.


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