South Korea Approves Record $2.64 Million Budget for North Koreans' Olympic Visit

South Korea Approves Record $2.64 Million Budget for North Koreans' Olympic Visit

South Korea Approves Record $2.64 Million Budget for North Koreans' Olympic Visit

The only North Korean athletes to formally qualify for the Games, Ryom and Kim embraced their coaches after performing their free skate in front of a jubilant crowd, recording a personal best score of 124.23 points.

According to South Korea's unification ministry, the decision to provide assistance for the North Koreans is being made early Wednesday, and will go toward accommodations for North Korea's cheerleading team, its performing artists, taekwondo demonstrators, or more than 700 people who have no connection to competitive sports during the Olympics.

Vice President Pence on Wednesday said that he ignored Kim Jong Un's sister during last week's opening ceremonies at the Winter Olympics to send a message that the US would stand up to North Korea's nuclear program and human rights record.

"This is the first time for South Korean skaters to be grouped together, except for finals at major events", Seo Yi-ra said after his training at an ice rink in Gangneung.

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South Korea has approved an estimated US$2.64 million to foot the bill for North Korea's Olympics expenses. This is, Rogin pointed out, differs from the prior position of the USA, that the US would only engage with the North if it made concessions on denuclearization first.

To the sound of an instrumental version of The Beatles' "A Day in the Life" - and the coordinated chanting of North Korea's tightly controlled cheering squad - figure skaters Ryom Tae Ok, 19, and Kim Ju Sik, 25, took to the ice Wednesday in their Olympic debut.

But the North's participation has been undoubted PR success for the secretive regime and the inclusion of Kim Jong-un's sister in the Olympic delegation stunned the global community. Pence on the other hand, avoided interacting with the regime altogether. Much will depend on how the North-South dialogue evolves.

"The fixed policy of the United States of America is that we are going to continue with all options on the table to bring intensifying economic and diplomatic pressure to bear until North Korea, once and for all, completely and verifiably abandons its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program", said Pence.

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Howard says he just wanted to meet the cheerleaders.

"When do the talks begin?"

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) told Reuters on Thursday it had given roughly US$50,000 (£35,582) to pay for training and preparation of North Korea's 22 Olympic athletes, or about US$2,300 each. And we are ready to have the first meeting without preconditions. He added that the president as said he "always believes in talking" but noted "there will be no reward for talks".

Upon his arrival back to D.C., Pence tweeted that the USA policy on North Korea is "unchanged".

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