US Vice President Criticizes N. Korea's Human Rights Abuses

US Vice President Criticizes N. Korea's Human Rights Abuses

US Vice President Criticizes N. Korea's Human Rights Abuses

Vice President Mike Pence was seated in close proximity to Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea on Friday.

Since a truce stopped the Korean War in 1953, contact between North and South Koreans has been rare, but every year hundreds of North Korean defectors cross into the South.

Mr Pence has repeatedly left open the possibility of an encounter at the Games, but said the USA had not requested a meeting.

The pair then sat down just a few seats away from Pence, but Pence and Kim Yo Jong did not interact nor appear to look at each other.

The high-level government delegation to the quadrennial event, headed by North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, arrived at Incheon International Airport on a North Korean airplane, reports Yonhap News Agency. They are also joining forces to field a single women's ice hockey team.

Kim Yo Jong is the first member of Kim's family to travel to South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War, according to the Associated Press.

REX  Shutterstock
REX Shutterstock

Also present at the opening ceremony parade were chef-de-mission Datuk Dr Mumtaz Jafaar, alpine skier Jeffrey Webb and team manager Irene Cheow.

South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna, gold medalist at the 2010 Vancouver Games, lighted the Olympic Flame at the ceremony in Pyeongchang.

Among many highlights was the entrance of Tongan athlete Pita Taufatofua, who made headlines two years ago in Rio for carrying his country's flag while shirtless and oiled up. Prayers, reflections and weekly challenges are meant to "connect you with your persecuted North Korean family".

North and South Korean athletes marched together at the opening ceremony, following months of negotiations by Seoul, which is seeking to use the Olympics to ease tensions over by Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme. "The Korean fans support the Russian athletes", Woo added.

The show of unity and harmony was not lost on Thomas Bach, the President of the International Olympic Committee, who said North and South Korea had set a "great example" for sending "a powerful message of peace".

Dedicated Olympic fans can watch the opening ceremony live when it starts at 6 a.m. E.T. on NBCOlympics.com, which will stream all the Winter Olympic Games live, or on the NBC Sports app, which is available on streaming devices, including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast and Xbox.

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