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North Korea has ‘no intention’ to meet US in South: KCNA

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By Agence France-Presse

North Korea has no intention to meet US officials during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South, Pyongyang’s state media said Thursday — but did not rule it out.

“We have no intention whatsoever to meet US authorities during our visit to the South,” Cho Yong-Sam, a senior foreign ministry official, was quoted as saying by the North’s official KCNA news agency.

(REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo/MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

(REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Photo/MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“We have never begged for dialogue with the US and will never do so,” he said.

But his comments did not rule out a meeting — and nor has US Vice President Mike Pence, who is due in the South on Thursday.

Both Kim Yong-Nam, the North’s ceremonial head of state, who is leading its delegation, and Pence are due to attend the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang on Friday.

That could put them in the same room at a leaders’ reception beforehand.

Pence has lambasted the North, announcing in Tokyo on Wednesday that the US would impose its toughest sanctions to date on the regime.

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 US “will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games”.

But on his way to Asia, he said: “I have not requested a meeting, but we’ll see what happens.”

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