North Korea confirms dismissal of top military general

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North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

Since arriving in Seoul on Thursday, Pence has been delivering a strong message against the Kim regime and waging a campaign to stop Pyongyang from "hijacking" the Olympics with its charm offensive.

"One of the main reasons North Korean athletes don't defect is due to their families back in North Korea", said Benjamin Young, a doctoral candidate at George Washington University who has researched sports in North Korea.

After North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un extended an olive branch in his New Year's address, the North and South resumed official talks and agreed to form a joint women's ice hockey team and march together under a unified flag at the opening ceremony.

On the sidelines, the North's presumed head of state, Kim Yong-nam, and the powerful sister of the supreme leader Kim Jong-un, Kim Yo-jong, attended the ceremony and met Moon, making this the highest-level visit by North Korean leaders to the South.

A unified Korean women's ice hockey team, first of its kind in the Olympic history, has won the hearts of millions on Saturday night, despite a 8-0 loss to the Sochi bronze victor Switzerland in their debut at the PyeongChang Olympic Games.

Among the previously incomprehensible scenes seen in the last 24 hours at the Olympics was this one: After the game the top North Korean officials and the South Korean president joined Bach in greeting the Korean players and posing for pictures with them.

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in described these Games as a "festival and celebration of peace", and the competition's curtain-raiser certainly set the tone.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Saturday told reporters there is "no daylight" between Washington and Seoul after a summit proposal from Kim Jong Un was extended to South Korean Moon Jae-in on the same day.

"If there is a message to be conveyed to South Korea or the USA, she is amply well positioned to convey it", he said.

Ms Kim attended the opening ceremony in a black fur coat with North Korea's 90 year-old head of state, Kim Yong-nam.

The meeting between the two Koreas came at the same time that Vice President Mike Pence was in Seoul, where he had repeatedly called the Kim regime "the most tyrannical" on earth.

Are these Winter Games having the effect South Korea had hoped, in thawing relations with the north? North Korea also boycotted the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Summer Olympics, both held in Seoul. Vice President Mike Pence, in Pyeongchang to lead the US delegation, was not impressed, however. North Korea has jumped at the opportunity.

That said, these officials said that if the North Koreans had approached Pence with pleasantries, he would have responded in kind.

But the member of North Korean royalty's soft smile, accepting the gesture beneath the strobing lights of the 35,000-seat, pentagonal stadium in Dagwallyeong-myeon, is a moment of shared understanding.

"Make no mistake about it, the United States of America has viable military options to deal with a nuclear threat from North Korea but, that being said, we hope for a better path", he said.

They were cheered wildly by a crowd which appeared loudest for the North Korean performance, although none of the spectators wore national symbols representing either side.

The Korean team, guaranteed a berth in the Games as the host nation, is not expected to win a medal.