Moon to meet high-level N.Korean delegation

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North Korea's media have not issued any reports concerning the parade, neither was it shown on TV, though the country's central television started broadcasting earlier than usual, NHK said.

"We have never begged for dialogue with the United States and it will be the same going forward", it reported, citing Cho Yong Sam, director-general of the North American department of North Korea's foreign ministry. "We will not allow North Korea to hide behind the Olympic banner the reality that they enslave their people and threaten the wider region".

The UN Security Council, which has slapped a series of sanctions on North Korea for its weapons programmes, imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Choe previous year when he was vice director of the Workers' Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department.

Pyongyang last month announced it would commemorate the 70th anniversary of the founding of its military on February 8 - changing the date from April 25 and switching it to the day before the Games' opening ceremony in Pyeongchang.

As an all-female team of North Korean cheerleaders launched a Winter Olympics charm offensive down South, back at home dictator Kim Jong-Un was presiding over a massive military parade that rolled out the North's ICBMs.

But none of them were spotted in satellite imagery of rehearsals ahead of the parade, according to respected U.S. website 38 North.

South Korea's unification ministry said on Thursday it would be open to discuss resuming tours to North Korea's Mt Kumgang once the security of tourists was guaranteed and conditions relating to North Korea's nuclear program are met.

Kim's sister, the first member of the North's ruling family to ever visit South Korea, is expected to come on Friday just ahead of the opening ceremony.

"We have never begged for dialogue with the USA and will never do so", he said.

Pence will meet Moon on Thursday.

Pence, who on Wednesday announced that "the toughest and most aggressive" economic sanctions against the regime are in the offing, said the United States will stand firm on its "maximum pressure" campaign against the North. The worldwide sanctions could bar Olympic organizers and sponsors from providing North Korean athletes with certain perks that hundreds of other Olympians will receive.

Despite his harsh rhetoric, Pence hadn't categorically ruled out the possibility of meeting with senior North Korean officials during the games, saying "we'll see what happens". "We'll have to wait and see exactly how that unfolds".

The North Korean dispatch of athletes to the Olympics and others for related activities comes after Kim Jong Un struck a conciliatory tone on ties with the South in his New Year's address.

On the eve of opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics there is quiet hope for a slight thaw in frigid relations between the two Koreas.

Lee Hee-beom added that all 193 UN member states, including North Korea, have supported the UN Olympic Truce Resolution for the Winter Games.

She cautioned against seeing the parade as a provocation to disrupt the current conciliatory atmosphere: "All this seems to suggest that [Kim] was being mindful of the spirit of the Winter Olympics "truce" and current geopolitical mood while still needing to go big on an important day for the North".