North Korea cancelled meeting with Pence at the Olympics, says White House


But the North Koreans pulled out, citing new sanctions the USA announced before Pence's arrival in South Korea, according to the official.

The North Koreans, who had sent Kim Yong Nam and leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong to the Games, backed out of the planned meeting after Pence announced Washington would soon unveil its "toughest and most aggressive sanctions" against Pyongyang. "We regret their failure to seize this opportunity", she said in a statement.

Kim Jong Un's cyberwarriors have been accused of causing huge disruption in recent years, including being blamed for the massive hack on Sony Pictures in 2014 and last year's WannaCry ransomware worm, as well as umpteen attacks on South Korean servers.

North Korea has made no comment on the USA reports.

The paper reported that the decision came after Mr Pence denounced North Korea's nuclear ambitions and announced a further series of USA sanctions against the secretive country.

A potential meeting between Pence and the North Koreans had been the most highly anticipated moment of the vice-president's visit to Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he led the U.S delegation to the opening ceremonies. Meanwhile, the South Korean president is deciding whether to accept an invitation to visit North Korea.

Asked when the two countries will hold the postponed drill, Song Young-moo told parliament he and his United States counterpart, Jim Mattis, would make an announcement between March 18 and the start of April.

Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un and the head of Pyongyang's propaganda department, is reportedly pregnant.

A Trump administration official said the US had expected the meeting to occur February 10, the last day of Pence's three-day visit to the Olympic Games.

The North's state-run Korean Central News Agency had unleashed a torrent of vitriol against the Vice President, saying that "Pence must know that his frantic acts of abusing the sacred Olympics for confrontational ruckus are as foolish and stupid an act as sweeping the sea with a broom".

Pence also declined to stand when athletes from the two Koreas marched together during the opening ceremony, a slight which angered his South Korean hosts.

But this APT37 appears to have been operating under the radar, exploiting holes in South Korean cyber security since 2012 to covertly gather intelligence on issues of concern for the North Korean regime: the government, military, media and human rights groups among them.

Seoul views the inter-Korean talks as a key to the solution of the North Korean nuclear problem, South Korean Foreign Ministry said Wednesday.

So, how might this realization alter North Korea's actions? "So the maximum pressure campaign is going to continue and intensify".

"President Trump said that I could notify him at any time if help was needed in the process of carrying out inter-Korean dialogue and that he supported me 100 percent", Moon told the magazine Monocle in an interview published on Thursday.