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N Korean nuclear strike could cause chaos in US

North Korea warms to South after visit, volume down on border...
A positive step from the DPRK. The volume of their broadcasts has been turned down since the Olympics started:
A senior South Korean military official stationed at the border between North and South Korea told Reuters North Korea had lowered the volume of its border propaganda broadcasts since the Olympics’ opening ceremony on Feb. 9.

“I still hear it, but it is much less than before,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Time is apparently running out according to Coats, Dir National Intelligence:
On Tuesday, the U.S. director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, said North Korea presented “a potentially existential” threat and said time was running out to act.

“Decision time is becoming ever closer in terms of how we respond to this,” Coats told a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing. “Our goal is a peaceful settlement. We are using maximum pressure on North Korea in various ways.”

—————

Coats said in an annual threat assessment report North Korea was likely to continue weapons testing in 2018 and noted that it had said it was considering an atmospheric nuclear test. The report said Pyongyang’s repeated statements that nuclear weapons were the basis for its survival “suggest the regime does not intend to negotiate them away.”
KCNA et al still silent on the summit proposal
 
More news on North Korean athletes at the Olympic Games in South Korea. 'I want to talk to them': North Korean Olympians enthrall South Koreans, who follow their every move

North Korea figure skaters are seen as having the best chance of any athletes from their country to win any medals, although that chance is admittedly still not too good. They are however being well received by the public in South Korea.
Polite applause typically follows pairs Olympic figure-skating teams during these routine training sessions. But lately, there's a heightened anticipation when the announcer introduces one particular team at the rink: "Tae-ok Ryom and Ju-sik Kim, from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea."

"Ohh, North Korea!" several female South Korean volunteers murmured excitedly, holding their smartphones aloft. It was the only practice the volunteers bothered to record that day, they conceded.
One of them is being called "Angel of Smiles" by the South Korean press.
Ryom earned the nickname "Angel of Smiles" in the South Korean press after she gave a cheery wave to reporters upon arriving at the athletes village.

The skaters and other North Korean athletes have fallen into a good-natured camaraderie with fellow Olympians, including their South Korean competitors.
The pair of Tae-ok Ryom and Ju-sik Kim have a Canadian coach Bruno Marcotte and trained in Montreal.
Ryom and Kim have been billed as North Korea's best chance at getting on the podium, but that chance is still remote. Their Canadian coach, Bruno Marcotte, trained them in Montreal and hopes they'll place within the top 10 or 12 teams.

One way or another, Marcotte said, they deserve their shot after qualifying for the Olympics in Oberstdorf, Germany, last year.
The two are seen below on the left, with Marcotte behind them.


The story notes that current feelings of good will may not last too long beyond the close of the Olympics. I don't think this should be too surprising a conclusion, given the ups and downs in relations between the two countries over the years. In my opinion, any lasting effects will depend upon the success of any diplomatic follow up later on this year.
 
Kim Jong Um made a surprise visit to the Olympics in South Korea.


Kim Jong "Um" being the stage name of an Australian Kim Jong Un impersonator who normally goes by the name of "Howard".
Meet Kim Jong 'Um,' the Kim impersonator angering North Korea's Olympic delegates

The South Koreans seem to have had a sense of humour failure over this however, and kicked him out of the opening ceremony of the Olympics when he showed up with another friend posing as Donald Trump.
In Pyeongchang, though, neither the South Korean organizers nor the North Korean delegation were amused by Howard's antics over the past two weeks. Security ejected him from the opening ceremony when he showed up acting chummy with a lookalike posing as U.S. President Donald Trump.


Although perhaps we shouldn't be too critical of the South Koreans, as he was in questionable company in that instance.
 
An apparent meeting between North Korean officials and US VP Pence to take place during the Olympic Games was cancelled at the last minute, reportedly by the North Koreans.
North Korea calls off meeting with Pence, White House says
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence was all set to hold a history-making meeting with North Korean officials during the Winter Olympics in South Korea, but Kim Jong-un's government cancelled at the last minute, the Trump administration said Tuesday.
I say "apparent meeting", because there is no clear information indicating that the North Koreans had ever confirmed any definite plan to meet.
There was no indication that a meeting had indeed been planned — and then cancelled on short notice — until Tuesday, more than a week after Pence returned to the United States. The State Department said that Pence had been "ready to take this opportunity" but would have used it to insist Pyongyang abandon its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.

"At the last minute, DPRK officials decided not to go forward with the meeting," said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert, using an abbreviation of the North's formal name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "We regret their failure to seize this opportunity."
Indeed the North Koreans had previously said they had no intention of meeting with Pence during the Olympic Games.
North Korea had no immediate response to the news out of Washington. But North Korean officials had said previously that they had no interest or intention of meeting with Pence in Pyeongchang during the games.
On the other hand, the US reported that North Korea had "dangled" the possibility of a meeting. The US says that they believe the North Koreans weren't serious, and so backed out when Pence agreed to meet.
Pence's office, acknowledging the scrapped meeting on Tuesday, said North Korea had "dangled a meeting" in hopes that doing so would entice the vice-president to ease up on the North. Pence's office suggested that North Korea later bailed because it became clear he would hold firm on the U.S. stance if a meeting did occur.
Alternatively, the North Koreans may have heard the US was planning on delivering a lecture to them and they weren't interested in hearing one.
Pence's chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said that the planned meeting — first reported by the Washington Post — would have included an "uncompromising message" delivered by Pence about the "maximum pressure campaign" the Trump administration is waging to try to deter North Korea from proceeding with its nuclear program.

"Perhaps that's why they walked away from a meeting, or perhaps they were never sincere about sitting down," Ayers said.
Given the lack of preparation and the lack of an actual negotiating team, any such meeting would simply have been a platform for both sides to reiterate their existing positions. That would have left the event an exercise in propaganda, making it no great loss anyway in my opinion.
 
In the same CBC article as above there is a video which the forum software will not let me embed here. The video is a 5-1/2 minute interview with the former Canadian ambassador to both North and South Korea. The former ambassador appears to be well informed about the region, and the video is well worth watching in my opinion. It is located about 3/4 of the way down the page.
North Korea calls off meeting with Pence, White House says
 
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