Seoul to Pay $2.6Mln for Pyongyang's Participation in Olympics

Seoul to Pay $2.6Mln for Pyongyang's Participation in Olympics

After North Korea this week accused the United States and Japan of trying to block an improvement in inter-Korean relations, Nakayama said the regime saw South Korea as its last chance amid its isolation from the rest of the world.

South Korea approved on Wednesday the use of 2.86 billion won ($2.64 million) to bankroll the cost of hosting hundreds of visiting North Koreans during the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Combined, they make a group of 424 North Koreans. "Even for a moment, it appears to be a normal state".

'We are against the ugly political Olympics!' one banner, held up at a protest, said.

They were not able to get close to the VIP area, where American Vice President Mike Pence and the real Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong were in attendance.

Pence, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in were all seated mere feet away from Kim Yo Jong, a senior member of the North's high-level delegation and the head of the country's propaganda department, at the Opening Ceremony for the Games last week.

Speaking at Tuesday's news briefing, Baik said the amount of funding had risen due to the increased cost of tickets for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

After being invited, a 400-strong delegation was dispatched from the North on an all-expenses paid trip with the South footing the bill. South Korea can't act in such a way because we are very cautious about offending other countries. Moon replied that it was not appropriate for Abe to have raised the issue, which he described as an internal affair.

North Korea's participation in the Olympics was seen a diplomatic win for North and South Korea.

"This development could have been anticipated, but for Japan it's a nightmare scenario", said Takashi Kawakami, a professor of global politics at Takushoku University in Tokyo. But in the interim, the US and allies would continue to pressure North Korea on denuclearization. "No one who reads the Times could think for a second that the Times doesn't understand about human rights abuses or North Korea's nuclear program".

The other North Korean athletes participating in the games are three cross-country skiers, two short-track speed skaters, a pair of figure skaters and 12 female hockey players who helped form the Koreas' first-ever joint Olympic team with South Korean players.

The United Nations, the United States and others have imposed restrictive economic sanctions on North Korea which has both reduced their cash flow and made interacting with the outside world hard. He said it behooves the US and South Korea "not to be charmed" by Pyongyang and to consider North Korea "for the regime it is and to deal with it on the basis of fact, not charm".

It is not unusual for the North to threaten to boost its nuclear deterrent.