Pence Snubs North Korean Officials at Winter Games
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
Pence is living proof that even an extremist imbecile can become vice president of the United States, a heartbeat from the top job.
His rage for endless wars of aggression is worrisome enough. Ahead of arriving at the Pyeongchang Winter Games, he warned about the toughest ever US sanctions on North Korea coming.
He snubbed the high-level DPRK delegation led by Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, and Kim Jong-un’s younger sister Kim Yo-jong, an important figure in the country.
He skipped a dinner before Friday’s opening ceremony, refusing to share a table with North Korean officials.
Separately in the VIP section, meters from DPRK officials, he refused to acknowledge their presence, then remained seated as Korean Olympians marched while everyone around him stood, showing respect.
According to South Korea’s presidential office, he attended a dinner with US athletes. South Korean President Moon Jae-in formally welcomed North Korean officials on Saturday, warmly displaying unity, an unimaginable scene weeks earlier.
He and Kim Yo-jong together cheered a unified women’s ice hockey team match. They sat side-by-side at a Seoul concert performed by Pyongyang musicians before she and other DPRK delegates flew home.
Before leaving, she gave Moon a handwritten note from her brother, inviting him to Pyongyang for a summit, hopefully he’ll agree to attend.
Kim Yo-jong was the first ruling family member to visit the South since her grandfather/DPRK founder Kim Il-sung in 1950.
Moon promoted the games as a “peace Olympics,” using them to encourage dialogue, along with avoiding catastrophic conflict on the peninsula.
Pence is an embarrassment to the office he holds, a hardline evangelical lunatic. Departing the Games on Saturday, he said “there is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan on the need to continue to isolate North Korea economically and diplomatically until they abandon their nuclear ballistic missile program.”
He disgracefully called North/South engagement at the Games Pyongyang’s attempt to “hijack the(ir) message and imagery.”
Moon, Chinese and Russian officials urge diplomacy and compromise to resolve contentious issues. Washington rejects diplomatic outreach, stoking tensions and belligerence its favored strategies.
A Twitter message said “(t)his year(’s) #OlympicTruce Mural has been installed in the Olympic Villages to show that walls don’t have to divide us but can be symbols of peace and unity. The mural is designed to highlight the unifying power of the Olympics!”
Pyongyang, Seoul, China, Russia and most other nations support peace and unity. Washington rejects it.
Can detente between North and South continue after the Winter Games end? Will Moon embrace the chance to continue dialogue for peace? Will he visit Pyongyang and invite Kim Jong-un to Seoul?
He faces heavy US pressure to stick to Washington’s hard line. Is he bold enough to go the right way?
A period of calm during the Games is a golden chance to accept Pyongyang’s invitation for constructive dialogue – stepping back from the brink for peace on the peninsula both countries want.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”