Pence and N Korea 'planned to meet'

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The thaw on the Korean Peninsula followed a year of escalating tensions caused by the Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests carried out in violation of the UN Security Council's resolutions. The ministry stressed the importance of the drill, citing November's North Korean ballistic missile activities.

Aaron Blunck of the USA competes during men's ski halfpipe qualification of freestyle skiing at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park, PyeongChang, South Korea, Feb. 20, 2018.

Pence attended the Olympics Opening Ceremony on February 9 as part of a five-day trip to Asia and was seated near Kim Jong-un's sister, but did not speak to her, creating a media sensation.

Vice President Pence garnered criticism from some media outlets for refusing to stand when the unified Korea team debuted in Pyeongchang and to meet with North Korean officials.

Just two weeks ago, North Korea and the United States nearly had a top-level talk in Seoul. Yet for months the Trump administration had offered inconsistent messages about what conditions would be needed for a tete-a-tete - such as whether North Korea would have to agree that its nuclear program was on the table before the United States would be willing to sit down.

Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un, also delivered a letter of Kim Jong Un to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, inviting him to visit Pyongyang at a convenient time.

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South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung Gyon said the torpedo attack on the boat was carried out by the North, but the government had not been able to confirm exactly who was responsible.

She was referring to Otto Warmbier, the American student who died in the United States last year after being detained by North Korea for more than a year. But some observers expect the military hawk to demand that South Korea cancel its joint exercises with the U.S. These exercises have been postponed until after the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Aides to Pence said Wednesday North Korea broached the idea of meeting with the vice president and the vice president agreed.

"There is no official opportunity for them to meet", the official said.

In addition to Pence, President Donald Trump is scheduled to address CPAC on Friday, as well as administration officials like Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

The US - among others - has warned against easing pressure on the North Koreans to abandon their nuclear programme and improve their human rights situation. The plan centers around rallying the global community to further isolate North Korea both diplomatically and economically.

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