Pyeongchang quarantines 1200 with norovirus-like symptoms ahead of opening ceremony

Pyeongchang quarantines 1200 with norovirus-like symptoms ahead of opening ceremony
Pyeongchang quarantines 1200 with norovirus-like symptoms ahead of opening ceremony

08 February, 2018

US Vice President Mike Pence has not discounted the possibility of meetings with North Korean representatives on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics, where he will officially represent the US.

As for Pence's delegation, the father of late USA student Otto Warmbier's father, Fred Warmbier, will be accompanying the vice president to the Olympic Games opening ceremony.

Pence says he hasn't requested any meeting "but we'll see what happens".

Mr Pence told reporters that he would use his trip to South Korea to make it clear that "all options are on the table" to deal with the threat posed by North Korea. According to White House officials, who spoke to Mail Online on the condition of anonymity, Pence will discuss the topic of North Korea - primarily focusing on its human rights abuses and aggressive nuclear programs conducted by its leader Kim Jong Un - with Asian countries.

Fred Warmbier has accused North Korea of torturing his son.

Asked to respond to comments Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made earlier Monday in Peru, in which he seemed to allow for a potential meeting between Pence and representatives from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime, Pence similarly did not reject a possible meeting.

In celebration of hosting, South Korea has invited and agreed to let North Korea participate in the games with it.

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Last month, US President Donald Trump told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that the US would be sending a "high-level delegation" to PyeongChang.

All North Korean ships have been banned from entering South Korean ports since 2010.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department said there were no plans for U.S. officials to meet with North Koreans during or after the Olympics and added: "We are in close contact with the Republic of Korea about our unified response to North Korea".

The two Koreas are to also have a joint women's hockey team for the games.

Trump and other senior officials have repeatedly said that time is running out before North Korea gains the capability to strike the USA mainland with a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

North and South Korea have no diplomatic ties and a state of war has technically persisted on the peninsula since a 1953 armistice brought to an end almost three years of war that had the United States fighting alongside the South against communist forces backed by China and Russian Federation.

The ferry had also been suspected by Japan and others of being used to smuggle parts for Pyongyang's illicit nuclear and missile programmes.

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