Troops, missiles and tanks rolled into North Korea's historic Kim Il Sung Square Thursday in a highly anticipated parade of military might on the eve of South Korea's Winter Olympics.
The spectre of nuclear annihilation looms over millions of South Koreans' lives every day, but the added spotlight of the Olympic Games has intensified safety concerns should the North ever launch an attack.
North Korea has no intention of meeting U.S. officials during the Winter Olympics, state media reported.
North Korea marked the founding anniversary of its army with a large military parade in Pyongyang on Thursday broadcast by state media.
Among the most noteworthy pieces of hardware that made an appearance at the parade were four giant Hwasong-15 long-range missiles, part of the ballistics program that has attracted further sanctions from the world community against the country.
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Now, we've also heard that North Korean leader's influential sister, Kim Yo-jong and the North Korean high-level delegation will be arriving tomorrow?
South Korean President Moon Jae-in will meet the North Korean delegation, led by its ceremonial leader Kim Yong-nam on Saturday, the presidential office said on Thursday.
Analysts say Kim Yo Jong's inclusion in the Olympic delegation shows North Korea's ambition to use the Olympics to break out from diplomatic isolation by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States.
But it noted conservative South Koreans and United States officials were concerned North Korea's large presence at the Olympics could caused cracks in the global alliance opposing North Korea's nuclear ambitions.
Organisers in Pyeongchang are preparing to deal with the cold snap at Friday's opening ceremony and also battling the spread of a virus among staff.
"Explicitly speaking, we have no intention to meet the U.S. side during the stay in South Korea".
Twenty-two North Korean athletes in five sports, including figure skating, speed skating, and a dozen female hockey players competing in a combined Korean team, will enter the Olympic stadium with South Korean athletes behind a unified Korean Peninsula flag.
The stance on North Korea of President Donald Trump, whose war of words with Kim Jong Un has quieted lately, has not changed, White Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said most recently in December.