Pyongyang Olympics? Burning Tensions Ahead of Games

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Chinese imports of North Korean commodities halved in December compared to the previous month, according to recently released data from China's General Administration of Customs (GAC).

Second, we know that North Korea's only bargaining chip is the threat of a terror attack, whether it be nuclear or through some other method (such as bombing an airplane).

"We do believe that Kim Jong Un, given these toolsets, would use them for things beyond regime protection and that is to put pressure on what is his ultimate goal, which is reunification of the peninsula under his authority", Pompeo said.

A dozen North Korean ice hockey players crossed the heavily fortified border into South Korea ahead of the games next month.

But worldwide sanctions leveled at North Korea in response to its nuclear weapons program have increasingly cut off access to foreign currency for a country already facing economic difficulties.

Pyongyang is seeking to "promote contact, travel, cooperation between North and South Korea" as the two nations appear to be on their best terms since the Korean War, 60 plus years ago.

He wouldn't address the question of whether there are military options available to the USA that don't risk an escalation into nuclear war with North Korea.

In addition to hockey, BBC Sports reported that the North Koreans will go up as challengers in figure skating, short track speed skating, cross-country skiing and alpine skiing.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un reacts to the Hwasong-15's test launch, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on November 30, 2017.

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"Kang explained the government's efforts to lessen tension on the Korean Peninsula and build peace through the recent inter-Korean talks over North Korea's participation in the PyeongChang Winter Olympics", the ministry said.

Russian Federation has so far joined the U.S., China and other nations in backing the U.N. trade sanctions on North Korea, imposed to forestall the regime's military nuclear programme.

A second Chinese source told RFA that with funds running low, North Korea has chose to participate in the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea as a way to improve relations and solicit charity from its rival neighbor.

Experts also said the Kremlin's goal is to split the U.S.'s attentions and military capabilities between different theaters - stretching Washington's budget in the process. A report by MSN presented most of the information used in this article.

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

"This is going to be a considerably threatening show of force, involving a large number of troops and many weapons".

The sanctions imposed on North Korean shipping are the latest in a slew of restrictions the USA has declared against North Korean shipping companies.

Critics argue that allowing North Korea to participate normalizes the dictatorship's atrocities, such as its human rights violations, and undermines the sanctions against it.

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