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Kim Jong Un boasts of North Korea's 'world class military power'

Kim Jong Un boasts of North Korea's 'world class military power'

Making his way to Pyeongchang to lead the US delegation to Friday's opening ceremonies, Pence has embarked on a set of symbolic visits created to draw attention to the North's awful human rights record and nuclear aggression.

North Korean military parades typically feature thousands of goose-stepping troops and hundreds of armoured vehicles, culminating with missiles rolling through Kim Il Sung Square - the highlight for Pyongyang-watchers who examine them for clues about the progress of its technology.

Unlike North Korea's last parade in April previous year, its state television did not broadcast the event live, instead airing it hours later.

The high-profile delegation of North Korean politicians is scheduled to arrive in South Korea on Friday for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics.

North Korea initially refrained from broadcasting the military parade live, and eventually played a tape of the event on state media.

Overshadowing most of the unease over the parade, South Korean television networks have focused on groups of North Korean musicians practicing for congratulatory concerts during the games, and a welcoming ceremony for the North's competitors at the athletes' village.

Mike Pence will be accompanied by the father of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died shortly in America shortly after being released from jail in North Korea. Radio Free Asia reported during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics that although the country's delegation was given phones, North Korea's Olympic committee had refused to distribute them to athletes.

Before departing Japan for Korea earlier Thursday, Pence warned that past attempts to pursue openings with the North have been met with "willful deception, broken promises, and endless and escalating provocations".

The north is using the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea to stage a charm offensive, including sending performers, cheerleaders and Kim Jong Un's sister to the games.

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In South Korea, Pence will meet Friday morning with North Korean defectors as he pays respects at the Cheonan Memorial in Seoul, which honors the 46 South Korean sailors killed in a 2010 torpedo attack attributed to the North.

After arriving at Incheon, the plane will return to the North and come back to the airport on Sunday to pick up the delegation, according to the ministry.

However, North Korea also held a massive military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday, raising suspicions in the South over the sudden rapprochement, which follows a series of weapons tests.

Others waved a distorted image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un photoshopped to resemble a demonic boar. Kim Jong Un told the crowd that the parade displayed North Korea's might as a "global military power".

Some observers have suggested that the North is trying to drive a wedge between South Korea and its American ally.Pence, who will lead the USA delegation, has vowed to prevent Kim from "hijacking the message and imagery" of the Olympics.

Says Pence: "The United States of America will soon unveil the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever - and we will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs once and for all".

The US "will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games".

Hear coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Games daily on 820 WBAP.

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