The Latest: Tillerson says NK responsible for suffering
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on talks between North and South Korea (all times local):
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says North Korea is responsible for the suffering of its people due to economic sanctions imposed over its nuclear weapons. He is also voicing skepticism that humanitarian aid to alleviate that suffering would reach the people who need it.
Tillerson told reporters late Wednesday that “it’s an unacceptable outcome that Kim is making that choice, and we’re not going to take any responsibility for the fact that he’s choosing to make his own people suffer.”
Tillerson was speaking a day after meeting with U.S. allies to discuss intensifying sanctions on North Korea.
The U.S. stance could put it at odds with South Korea, whose government is re-engaging the North after years of escalating tensions and is thought to be considering provision of humanitarian aid.
The White House says it hopes for a “small taste of freedom” for the North Korean athletes participating on a joint Olympic team with South Korea.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says it’s also an opportunity for North Korea to see the value of ending its international isolation by getting rid of its nuclear weapons.
Sanders says she hopes the taste of freedom rubs off and affects conversations about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.
South Korea has announced that the rival Koreas have agreed to form their first joint Olympic team and have their athletes march together during the opening ceremony for next month’s Winter Olympics in the South.
The agreement was reached during talks Wednesday at the border village of Panmunjom. The International Olympic Committee must sign off on the proposal.
South Korea says the rival Koreas have agreed to form their first joint Olympic team and have their athletes march together during the opening ceremony of next month’s Winter Olympics in the South.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry says the Koreas reached the agreement during talks Wednesday at the border village of Panmunjom.
It says athletes from the two Koreas will march together under a “unification flag” depicting their peninsula during the opening ceremony and will field a single women’s ice hockey team.
The measures require approval by the International Olympic Committee. The South Korean ministry says the two Koreas will consult with the IOC this weekend.
South Korea says North Korea plans to send a 230-member cheering squad to South Korea during next month’s Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry says in a statement the North also proposed its Olympic delegation travel to South Korea across the land border during talks Wednesday.
It says the two Koreas also discussed fielding a joint women’s hockey team and conducting a joint march during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games.
It says the talks will continue later Wednesday.
The North has said its delegation would also include officials, athletes, journalists, an art troupe and a taekwondo demonstration team.
South Korea says North Korea will send a delegation to the Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea in March.
Seoul’s Unification Ministry says in a statement that the North informed it of such a plan during talks Wednesday at the border. The talks, the third round in less than 10 days, were arranged to discuss cooperation in next month’s Pyeongchang Olympics.
The Unification Ministry says the two Korea will hold further talks on a detailed makeup of the North Korean Paralympics delegation.
North Korea agreed last week to send a delegation to the Pyeongchang Olympics in a conciliatory gesture after a year of heightened animosities over its nuclear and missile programs.
A government spokesman has said that South Korea will ensure that any proposal for a joint women’s hockey team with North Korea at the Winter Olympics will not have a negative impact on South Korean players.
Unification Ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun said Wednesday that the government is aware of public concerns that adding North Korean players could displace South Koreans who have made the team.
His comments came as the two Koreas were holding talks on North Korean participation in the Winter Games in South Korea next month.
South Korea wants the IOC to allow the hockey team’s roster to be expanded to make room for North Korean players. If a joint squad is realized, it would be the Koreas’ first unified team in an Olympics.
The two Koreas are meeting for the third time in 10 days to discuss North Korean participation in next month’s Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Officials from both sides met Wednesday in the village of Panmunjom inside the Demilitarized Zone that divides their countries.
North Korea agreed last week to send a delegation to the Olympics. The move has provided a tentative thaw in the strained ties between the Koreas.
Proposals expected to be discussed Wednesday include a joint women’s hockey team and marching together during the opening ceremony. The talks precede a meeting among the two countries and the IOC in Switzerland on Saturday.
The Koreas agreed earlier this week that 80 North Korean orchestra members and 60 singers and dancers would perform in the South during the games.