North Korea condemns latest U.S. sanctions

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Legal experts consulted by Reuters said a violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions seems to have occurred and could trigger further sanctions by the United States, which has complained Russian Federation is not doing enough to apply pressure against North Korea.

The members of the youth national team are likely to participate in the training, the South's Korea Ski Association said, instead of athletes directly competing at the Winter Games.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, who will represent the United States at the Olympics, said on Tuesday he would seek to counter what he described as an effort by North Korea to "hijack" the Games with a propaganda campaign.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo enter Pacific Command headquarters in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018.

The statement coincided with plans by Winter Olympics host South Korea to take part in joint sporting and cultural events in the area.

Mattis reiterated that military options remain at the ready to make sure diplomats have leverage in pressuring Pyongyang to denuclearize.

Some analysts have argued that the recent dialogue, brought on by a New Year's Day proclamation by Kim that encouraged talks, is a tactic to try to separate South Korea from the USA, its security guarantor.

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The official added that South Korea had also told the North Koreans about the possibility of featuring a K-pop act in the concert.

Diplomacy between the two Koreas got a boost earlier this month when officials from the two countries met for the first time in years about North Korea's participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which is set to begin next month. While South and North Korea are now looking at several dates, the event will be reportedly held on the afternoon of February 4.

"If it is led by an official capable of delivering a message from Kim Jong-un, the visit could provide the opportunity for denuclearization talks that go beyond dialogue to improve inter-Korean relations".

Stratfor, a USA geopolitical intelligence group, said recently that the United States may end up standing by as the DPRK promotes its nuclear weapons development.

Tensions between North Korea and the US have spiked following Pyongyang's sixth and largest nuclear test in September.

The official said that South Korea needs to solve the electricity issue, but tough sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the United States are making it hard for Seoul to send refined oil to the North.

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