North Korea says it's not interested in meeting US VP Pence - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

North Korea says it's not interested in meeting US VP Pence

(Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP). U.S. Vice President Mike Pence addresses members of U.S. military services and Japan Self-Defense Force before he departs for South Korea, at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, Thursda... (Toru Hanai/Pool Photo via AP). U.S. Vice President Mike Pence addresses members of U.S. military services and Japan Self-Defense Force before he departs for South Korea, at U.S. Air Force Yokota base in Fussa, on the outskirts of Tokyo, Japan, Thursda...
(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). South Korean army's armored vehicles move during a military exercise in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. is preparing to announce the "tough... (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon). South Korean army's armored vehicles move during a military exercise in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S. is preparing to announce the "tough...
(Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File). FILE - This 2015, file photo provided by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his sister Kim Yo Jong, left, during their visit to a military unit in North Ko... (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File). FILE - This 2015, file photo provided by the North Korean government shows North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his sister Kim Yo Jong, left, during their visit to a military unit in North Ko...

By ERIC TALMADGE
Associated Press

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (AP) - North Korea says it is not interested in meeting U.S. Vice President Mike Pence while he is in South Korea for the Pyeongchang Olympics.

With Pyongyang sending a senior delegation - including Kim Jong Un's younger sister - rumors had circulated such a meeting could be in the works. A top Foreign Ministry official seemed to rule that out in comments carried by the North's state-run media on Thursday.

"We have no intention to meet with the U.S. side during the stay in South Korea," the official was quoted as saying. "We are not going to use such a sports festival as the Winter Olympics as a political lever. There is no need to do so."

Pence was to arrive in South Korea from Japan on Thursday and move to Pyeongchang on Friday.

Kim's sister, the first member of the North's ruling family to ever visit South Korea, is expected to come on Friday just ahead of the opening ceremony. North Korea's nominal head of state and senior statesman, 90-year-old Kim Yong Nam, is expected to join her.

The mood has hardly been conducive to any U.S.-North Korea meeting despite the proximity in Pyeongchang.

Washington has been stepping up its anti-Pyongyang rhetoric while North Korea has been trying to use the Olympics as an opportunity to ease tensions with South Korea. Some see Pyongyang's conciliatory gestures toward Seoul as a calculated move to drive a wedge between the U.S. and its ally.

If that's the case, it may already be paying off for Kim Jong Un.

In response to a North Korean request, Seoul has agreed to postpone annual military maneuvers with the U.S. until after the games are over and has asked for some sanctions to be waived so that more contacts and exchanges with the North can be made.

Pence, meanwhile, is taking a decidedly hard-line approach.

Before departing for South Korea, he announced the U.S. would unveil in the coming days "the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever." Pyongyang is already the subject of wide-ranging sanctions and details of what the U.S. might target next have yet to be announced.

He is also bringing as his personal guest Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American who died last year days after his release from captivity in North Korea.

The North has denied mistreating Otto Warmbier, although what caused his death remains a mystery, and Pence's decision to bring his father to the games is sure to be seen in Pyongyang as a very provocative move.

Even so, Pence and other U.S. officials seemed to be open to the possibility of a meeting, even if they were not actively seeking one.

When asked by reporters if he would be willing to have some sort of interaction, Pence had said "we'll see what happens." Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters Wednesday that Pence is "quite capable of making the call" on whether to meet with North Korean officials at the Olympics.

With the North's position now official, he probably won't have to.

Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • InternationalMore>>

  • Want an evening out with Trump Jr? You're probably too late

    Want an evening out with Trump Jr? You're probably too late

    Thursday, February 22 2018 4:13 AM EST2018-02-22 09:13:57 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:55 PM EST2018-02-22 18:55:18 GMT
    (AP Photo). The eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. , center, stands in front of Trump Towers after its inauguration in Pune, India, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Donald Trump Jr. said any talk that his family was profiting from his...(AP Photo). The eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr. , center, stands in front of Trump Towers after its inauguration in Pune, India, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2018. Donald Trump Jr. said any talk that his family was profiting from his...
    Want an evening out with Donald Trump Jr.? Sorry, even if you have an extra $39,000 it's probably too late to buy a "conversation and dinner" with the eldest son of the American president as he visits India.
    Want an evening out with Donald Trump Jr.? Sorry, even if you have an extra $39,000 it's probably too late to buy a "conversation and dinner" with the eldest son of the American president as he visits India.
  • UNICEF official resigns after allegations made

    UNICEF official resigns after allegations made

    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:34 PM EST2018-02-22 18:34:55 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:55 PM EST2018-02-22 18:55:09 GMT
    A senior official at UNICEF has resigned after allegations of inappropriate behavior during an early stint at Save The Children.
    A senior official at UNICEF has resigned after allegations of inappropriate behavior during an early stint at Save The Children.
  • In Syria, a father says last goodbye to dead child

    In Syria, a father says last goodbye to dead child

    Thursday, February 22 2018 4:54 AM EST2018-02-22 09:54:00 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:55 PM EST2018-02-22 18:55:06 GMT
    (Ghouta Media Center via AP). This frame grab from video provided on Wednesday Feb. 21, 2018 by the Syrian anti-government activist group Ghouta Media Center, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian man...(Ghouta Media Center via AP). This frame grab from video provided on Wednesday Feb. 21, 2018 by the Syrian anti-government activist group Ghouta Media Center, which has been authenticated based on its contents and other AP reporting, shows a Syrian man...
    A father saying his last goodbye to his dead child in a moment captured on video, before the shelling starts again.
    A father saying his last goodbye to his dead child in a moment captured on video, before the shelling starts again.
  • News HeadlinesNewsMore>>

  • Closings & Cancellations

    Closings & Cancellations

    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:31 PM EST2018-02-22 18:31:06 GMT
    (Source: RNN Texoma)(Source: RNN Texoma)

    Newschannel 6 is working to monitor the latest closures, delays and cancellations across Texoma due to inclement weather.

    Newschannel 6 is working to monitor the latest closures, delays and cancellations across Texoma due to inclement weather.

  • The Latest: Trump congratulates US women's hockey on gold

    The Latest: Trump congratulates US women's hockey on gold

    Wednesday, February 21 2018 8:35 PM EST2018-02-22 01:35:29 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 1:26 PM EST2018-02-22 18:26:19 GMT
    (AP Photo/Morry Gash). Marcel Hirscher, of Austria, skies into the finish area after the first run of the men's slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.(AP Photo/Morry Gash). Marcel Hirscher, of Austria, skies into the finish area after the first run of the men's slalom at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Thursday, Feb. 22, 2018.

    Russian state TV reports that curler Alexander Krushelnitsky will give back his Olympic bronze medal after failing a drug test at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

    Russian state TV reports that curler Alexander Krushelnitsky will give back his Olympic bronze medal after failing a drug test at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

  • China cracks down on strippers at funerals

    China cracks down on strippers at funerals

    Thursday, February 22 2018 12:04 PM EST2018-02-22 17:04:10 GMT
    Thursday, February 22 2018 12:04 PM EST2018-02-22 17:04:10 GMT
    Providing entertainment at funerals in China goes back to the Qing Dynasty, which ran from 1644–1912. (Source: Pixabay)Providing entertainment at funerals in China goes back to the Qing Dynasty, which ran from 1644–1912. (Source: Pixabay)

    Providing entertainment at funerals in China goes back to the Qing Dynasty, which ran from 1644–1912.

    Providing entertainment at funerals in China goes back to the Qing Dynasty, which ran from 1644–1912.

Powered by Frankly