North Korea canceled planned meeting with Pence at last minute


The CNN report said, "Speaking in Japan last week ahead of his visit to Pyeongchang for the Winter Olympics, US Vice President Mike Pence said Washington plans to unveil what he called the "toughest and most aggressive" sanctions yet against North Korea".

"We are hoping that the ongoing talks between the South and North will lead to talks between the United States and North Korea and eventually to denuclearization dialogue", Moon said from the Olympic village in Pyeongchang.

"Perhaps that's why they walked away from a meeting, or perhaps they were never honest about sitting down", Ayers said.

"At the last minute, DPRK officials decided not to go forward with the meeting", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, using an acronym for the North's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Now, more than a week after Mr Pence returned to the U.S., the State Department says a meeting had been discussed before North Korea "walked away".

Nick Ayers, Pence's chief of staff, confirmed in a statement to CBS News that North Korea "dangled a meeting" with Pence before canceling.

McShane said North Korea's different musical offerings near the border "could be just because there's a good number of North Korean citizens here".

Interested in North Korea?

President Donald Trump and the North's leader Kim Jong Un have engaged in a series of personal insults.

Despite global condemnation, North Korea has its own list of demands, none of which have been received well by South Korea and its allies.

A senior administration official ruled out any possible meeting between Ivanka and officials from North Korea.

The distance between Seoul and Washington was laid bare in a meeting between Moon and a North Korean delegation, during which Kim Jong Un's sister passed on his invitation to visit Pyongyang for a summit.

During the opening ceremony, Mr Pence ignored Ms Kim and the rest of the delegation from Pyongyang, which included Kim Yong-nam, the 90-year-old ceremonial head of state. It also sent Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong.

Still, Pence had been steadily dropping hints about the administration's potential willingness to sit down with the North Koreans.

The fact that the meeting nearly happened in the first place may come as a surprise given the Trump administration's aggressive stance toward North Korea. In addition to North Korean officers peering through windows to observe their South Korean counterparts and South Korean soldiers rescuing a defector who had been shot by his North Korean countrymen, Watt discusses the odd communication method used since the North stopped answering its phone.

Highlighting the difficulty of enforcing even the existing sanctions, Japan on Wednesday said its military had spotted a ship-to-ship transfer of goods at sea that it "strongly suspects" violates the current United Nations sanctions on North Korea.