Seoul, North Korean and Iranian athletes at the Winter Olympics will not receive high-end smartphones being handed out to their fellow competitors because of United Nations sanctions, organisers said Wednesday.
Another thing to keep an eye on: North and South Korea will be marching under one flag for these games - a decision that's been met with some resistance. Not only did he broker an agreement to bring North Korea to the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang; he convinced U.S. President Donald Trump that doing so was in fact Trump's idea.
Meanwhile, Samsung's office in Tehran told Bahram Radan - a famous Iranian actor who was also one of the torch bearers of the 2018 Winter Olympics - that the company has provided the International Olympics Committee (IOC) with enough smartphones to be distributed among all athletes.
A day before the opening ceremony of the games, tens of thousands of North Korean soldiers marched Thursday in the country's capital along with tanks and trucks mounted with rocket launchers to mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of its military.
Vice President Mike Pence said the U.S.is preparing to announce the "toughest and most aggressive" economic sanctions against North Korea. As his guest at the opening ceremony, he is taking the father of Otto Warmbier, an American student who died past year after being imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months.
It was the first direct South Korean flight to North Korea since 2015, when South Korean labor unionists flew to Pyongyang for a goodwill soccer match.
Despite its welcome move to celebrate the opening of the Olympics, the troupe's arrival via the North Korean ship is raising a question: What is Pyongyang's real intention?
The North Korean delegation will also include Kim Yong Nam, the country's nominal head of state, and Choe Hwi, chairman of the country's National Sports Guidance Committee.
North Korea has held a military parade in a show of strength on the eve of the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
The event is understood to have lasted for about an hour and was spotted by South Korea intelligence officials on satellite.
Unilaterally, the US has also targeted North Korean shipping companies and Chinese trading networks.
The war-separated Koreas are cooperating on a series of conciliatory measures during the Olympics, which the South sees as an opportunity to ease tensions with the North following an extended period of animosity over its nuclear weapon and missile programs.
The Vice President on Wednesday said the U.S. Treasury Department would soon impose fresh unilateral sanctions on the North.
But the January 31 trip wasn't official until less than two hours before the chartered Asiana Airlines flight carrying the South Korean skiers took off for the North's Kalma Airport.
As North Korea's march toward obtaining nuclear-tipped missiles capable of reaching the USA has exceeded the American government's estimates, the Trump administration has worked to rally the global community to embrace tougher economic sanctions and isolation of the North.
"We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games", he said. The South Korean government said Thursday morning that it did not even know what time the parade would begin.