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US Left Out of Loop on North Korea Olympic Invite, WSJ Says

Image: US Left Out of Loop on North Korea Olympic Invite, WSJ Says
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By    |   Monday, 05 February 2018 10:10 AM

The United States was left out of the loop on consultations about North Korea's Olympic invitation by South Korea, and was only told about the gesture just before it happened, The Wall Street Journal reported.

As the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics prepared to open later this week, the close relationship between Washington and Seoul appears to have been strained by the South Korea's reluctance to inform the U.S. about talks on North Korea's overtures to participate in the worldwide sporting event, officials told the Journal.

"We're good today, but there are lots of policy tests that we have to manage in the days ahead and then after the Olympics," one official familiar with the diplomatic process told the Journal. “It's a challenging road."

The Journal said a January speech by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about his interest in participating in the Olympics caught the attention of South Korean leaders, who responded quickly to its estranged neighbor and began negotiations.

Seoul's outreach to Pyongyang, and apparent shutout of the U.S. in the decision-making process, rankled U.S. Embassy diplomats in Seoul, who expressed displeasure over the move, a source told the Journal.

South Korean officials, though, told U.S. officials that the immediacy of the Olympics left them few options but to respond to Mr. Kim's speech quickly, the source said, per the Journal.

South Korean president Moon Jae-in, who said earlier this year that he wanted to be remembered as the person who "built a peaceful relationship between the North and South (Korea)," welcomed North Korea sending a team to the Olympics, which CNN called "the most significant thaw in relations between the two for years."

North Korea's delegation to the Winter Olympics now includes the country’s ceremonial leader, Kim Yong Nam, 12 ice hockey players who have formed a joint squad with the South Korean women's national team, cheerleaders, journalists, a taekwondo display team, and performance artists, Reuters reported.

All that comes after that tensions between United States and North Korea continued to worsen and they traded threatening rhetoric with each other.

Just before Christmas, the United Nations Security Council, led by the U.S., stepped up economic sanctions against North Korea after the reclusive regime launched an intercontinental ballistic missile in November that could threaten the entire continental U.S., Bloomberg reported.

Although the U.S. and South Korea have agreed to put military drills on hold during the Olympics they plan to resume them when the games are concluded, CNN reported.

During a mid-January meeting, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, the U.S.'s national security adviser, called on South Korea and Japan to keep diplomatic pressure on North Korea, according to the Journal.

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The United States was left out of the loop on consultations about North Korea's Olympic invitation by South Korea, and was only told about the gesture just before it happened.
us, left out of loop, north korea, olympic, invite
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2018-10-05
Monday, 05 February 2018 10:10 AM
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