iStock/Thinkstock(PYEONGCHANG, South Korea) — Both the Americans and North Koreans have said that they do not intend to meet with each other while in Pyeongchang for the Olympics’ closing ceremony.
Despite what officials from both countries said, a couple of hints have emerged that possibly point toward secret talks.
Each nation’s delegation have added a last-minute name — and both of the individuals have been key in U.S.-North Korea relations.
The North Korean delegation — headed by Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee — arrived Sunday morning in South Korea with last-minute addition Choe Kang Il, who deals with U.S. affairs.
The U.S. delegation — led by first daughter Ivanka Trump — arrived earlier this week with new addition Allison Hooker, a National Security Council official who specializes in Korean affairs. Hooker was in North Korea in 2014 and was part of six-party nuclear negotiations, according to local reports.
On the surface, however, the two sides are talking tough.
Upon her arrival in South Korea, Ivanka Trump said she’s in the country to cheer for Team USA, not to meet with the North Koreans.
And on Sunday morning, North Korea’s Asia-Pacific Peace Committee blasted the Trump administration, saying there would be “no face-to-face talks for 100 years or 200 years” and “we will never beg for dialogue.”
The statement was also in reaction to Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday calling leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo-jong a “central pillar of the most tyrannical and oppressive regime on the planet.”
Aside from attending the closing ceremony in PyeongChang on Sunday, the schedule for the North Korean delegation is unknown — and that’s raising a lot of questions. When Kim Yo-jong was at the opening ceremony, the South’s Unification Ministry had been mostly open about her daily schedule. Not this time.
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