February 9, 2018

SOUTH KOREA: North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un's Sister Arrives In South Korea For The Winter Olympics Ceremony. The First Member Of Her Family To Visit Since The Korean War In 1950.

Business Insider
written by Tong-Hyung Kim, Associated Press
Friday February 9, 2018

SEOUL, South Korea — The sister of the North Korean leader on Friday became the first member of her family to visit South Korea since the 1950-53 Korean War as part of a high-level delegation attending the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Arriving on her brother Kim Jong Un’s white private jet for a three-day visit, Kim Yo Jong and the country’s 90-year-old nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam are scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday in a luncheon at Seoul’s presidential palace.

Dressed in a black coat, carrying a black shoulder bag and hit with a barrage of camera flashes, Kim Yo Jong smiled as a group of South Korean officials, including Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, greeted her and the rest of the delegates at a meeting room at Incheon International Airport.

The North Koreans — also including Choe Hwi, chairman of the country’s National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North’s agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs — then moved down a floor on an escalator to board a high-speed train to Pyeongchang.

Moon has been trying to use the games as an opportunity to revive meaningful communication with North Korea after a period of diplomatic stalemate and eventually pull it into talks over resolving the international standoff over its nuclear program.

The last time a South Korean president invited North Korean officials to the presidential Blue House was in November 2007, when late liberal President Roh Moo-hyun, the political mentor of Moon, hosted then-North Korean premier Kim Yong Il for a luncheon following a meeting between the countries’ senior officials.

Skeptics say North Korea, which is unlikely to give up its nukes under any deal, is just using the Olympics to poke holes at the U.S.-led international sanctions against the country and buy more time to further advance its strategic weaponry.

The North Korean delegation’s arrival came a day after Kim Jong Un presided over a massive military parade in Pyongyang that was highlighted by the country’s developmental intercontinental ballistic missiles, which in three flight tests last year showed potential ability to reach deep into the U.S. mainland when perfected.

South Korean media have been speculating about whether Kim will send a personal message to Moon through his sister and, if so, whether it would include a proposal for a summit between the two leaders.

Kim Yo Jong, believed to be around 30, is the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the South since the Korean War.

As first vice director of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, Kim has been an increasingly prominent figure in North Korea’s leadership and is considered one of the few people who has earned her brother’s absolute trust.

Analysts say the North’s decision her to the Olympics shows an ambition to break out from diplomatic isolation and pressure by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States.

By sending a youthful, photogenic person who will undoubtedly attract international attention during the games, North Korea may also be trying to craft a fresher public image and defang any U.S. effort to use the Olympics to highlight the North’s brutal human rights record.

South Korea has yet to announce a confirmed schedule for the North Korean delegates aside of their participation in the opening ceremony and Saturday’s luncheon with Moon.

There’s a possibility that they would attend the debut of the first-ever inter-Korean Olympic team at the women’s ice hockey tournament on Saturday, hours after their meeting with Moon. They could also see a performance by a visiting North Korean art troupe in Seoul on Sunday before heading back to Pyongyang.

The North has sent nearly 500 people to the Pyeongchang Games, including officials, athletes, artists and also a 230-member state-trained cheering group after the war-separated rivals agreed to a series of conciliatory gestures for the games.

Moon, a liberal whose presidential win in May last year ended a decade of conservative rule in Seoul, has always expressed a willingness to reach out to the North. His efforts received a boost when Kim Jong Un in his New Year’s Day speech called for improved ties between the Koreas and expressed willingness to send athletes to Pyeongchang.

This led to a series of talks where the Koreas agreed to have its delegates jointly march during the opening ceremony under a blue-and-white “unification” flag and field a combined team in women’s ice hockey. A North Korean art troupe also performed in Gangneung on Thursday and will perform in Seoul on Sunday before heading back home.

Critics say that South Korea while cooperating with its rival over the Olympics allowed itself to play into the hands of the North which is apparently trying to use the games to weaken sanctions.

South Korea allowed the North to use a 9,700-ton ferry to transport more than 100 artists to perform at the Olympics, treating it as an exemption to maritime sanctions it imposed on its rival, and is now considering whether to accept the North’s request to supply fuel for the ship.

While neither Kim Yo Jong nor Kim Yong Nam are among the North Korean officials blacklisted under U.N. sanctions, the U.S. Treasury Department last year included Kim Yo Jong on its list of blacklisted officials over her position as vice director of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department.

The U.N. committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea has proposed granting an exemption for Choe, who has been on the U.N. sanctions blacklist since last June.
Daily Sabah, Turkey
written by Staff and wire services
Friday February 9, 2018

North Korean athletes have reportedly refused to take free Samsung phones distributed to athletes at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

Yonhap News agency said Friday the North Koreans rejected the offer to use the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 phone during the Games and return it upon their departure.

The phones created a dilemma for the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee, which considered whether giving them to the 22 North Korean athletes would violate United Nations sanctions that ban trading luxury products with North Korea.

Organizers initially said the North Koreans and Iranians would be denied the devices due to UN sanctions on their countries.

Then the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said they would be provided for the Games, but the two countries' representatives would be asked to return them afterwards rather than keep them.

It was not clear how the IOC would ensure compliance with the request.

An IOC spokesman was unable to confirm the reports when contacted by AFP.

Iranian athletes were also subject to deliberation due to sanctions against Iran.

The ban on Iranians keeping the phones had provoked a furious reaction in Teheran, with authorities blaming the manufacturer for the situation.

Iran's foreign ministry summoned South Korea's ambassador Kim Seung-ho to lodge a "strong protest" over what it called Samsung's "dishonest conduct that is contrary to the spirit of the Olympic Games".

The ambassador was warned that "if Samsung does not make its excuses... this affair will have strong repercussions on commercial relations between the Samsung Group and the Islamic Republic of Iran".

Samsung, the world's biggest smartphone and memory chip manufacturer, is a crucial part of South Korea's economy, with the group's turnover equivalent to a fifth of the national GDP.

The IOC later backed down.

"Regarding Iran, we can confirm that all participants will be able to keep the phones," it said in a statement late Thursday.

"Regarding North Korea, all participants are requested not to take the phones back to their home country but to only use them during their stay in Pyeongchang," it added.

The Galaxy Note 8 retails for around 1,000,000 South Korean won ($920) and so could fall foul of U.N. measures banning supplies of luxury goods to the North.

A Samsung spokeswoman stressed the electronics giant had nothing to do with the distribution of the handsets and all decisions were by the IOC.
This guy deleted this tweet that I responded to above. But all my tweets are automatically shared on my Facebook profile. So this is what the jerk wrote, "We already have 13 people who signed up to lay down in front of the tanks if Trump brings out a military parade. This is not a Military Authoritarian State. We you join us? #TrumpParade"

I went to his Twitter page and he deleted a few of his insidious tweets. This one below is the only one he kept up that directs you to a Facebook link to a call to action video that he also deleted.
I want to remind everybody that Obama ADDED $9.3 TRILLION, not million, not billion, BUT TRILLION dollars to our U.S. National debt in the 8 years he was president of the United States and we have NOTHING TO SHOW FOR IT. NOTHING.

Not surprised that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats blamed George W. Bush for $9.3 TRILLION ADDED to the U.S. National debt. Obama is not responsible for anything and they blame everyone else for everything.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi blamed former President George W. Bush and the Republicans on Friday for the more than $9 trillion that has been added to the national debt under President Obama's watch.

Pelosi argued that under Obama, the annual budget deficit, which contributes to the national debt, has been reduced dramatically, and said that without Obama's work, the national debt would be even higher. She also mostly blamed Bush for not paying for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The national debt has increased $9.3 trillion under Obama's watch, and has nearly doubled over the last eight years to $19.9 trillion.

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