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North Korea Holds Military Parade, Shows Off Weapons Ahead Of Olympic Opening

09 February 2018

A shipload of North Korean musicians, singers and dancers arrived in South Korea on Tuesday to perform at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

In a massive show of force ahead of the iconic sporting event, Kim Jong-un's regime rolled out the Hwasong-15 rockets and their mobile launchers alongside some 13,000 troops.

Analysts said the parade seemed smaller than those of previous years, but was still focused on the North's goal of strengthening its nuclear missile capabilities.

The 23-member delegation will be led by North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam and will also include Ri Son Gwon, who as head of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country is responsible for inter-Korean affairs.

But the delegation features Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Kim. The military should remain on high alert to ensure that invaders could not violate the North´s sovereignty "even by 0.001mm", he said.

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North Korea normally invites hundreds of foreign journalists to show off the spectacle to the world but did not do so this time, possibly an indication that it wanted to control how the display is seen.

The North unveiled five new kinds of missiles at its most recent major military parade last April.

Since her return to North Korea, she is said to have been prepared for a leadership role by her aunt, Kim Kyong Hui.

"We haven't requested a meeting with North Korea, but if I have any contact with them - in any context - over the next two days, my message will be the same as it was here today: North Korea needs to once and for all abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions", Pence said.

In 2000, her father, Kim Jong Il, held a summit meeting in North Korea with Kim Dae-jung, then South Korea's president, but did not keep his promise to visit for a second meeting.

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Senior Pyongyang Foreign Ministry official Cho Yong Sam, however, said the North had no intention of meeting U.S. officials during the trip. A North Korean Foreign Ministry official seemed to rule out a potential meeting with US officials in the North's state-run media on Thursday, but Pence suggested to reporters that it was still a possibility.

Before leaving Japan for South Korea, Pence said the United States would not be duped by any false overture.

Following the launch from a site north of the capital, North Korean state media announced the November test was a success.

"We are not going to use such a sports festival as the Winter Olympics as a political lever", the official reportedly said.

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North Korea Holds Military Parade, Shows Off Weapons Ahead Of Olympic Opening