Olympics: Mike Pence doesn't stand for Korea, skips meal with North Koreans


Kim Yo Jong arrived in South Korea on Friday with Kim Yong Nam, the North's nominal head of state, for the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in the alpine resort town of Pyeongchang.

She met with the South's president, Moon Jae-in, on Saturday.

The North Korean invitation puts Moon in a hard position as he seeks a rapprochement with the north on the one hand and a desire not to upset the US on the other.

She is believed to be a major player in the North Korean government, effectively controlling the country's public relations, for lack of a better term. The North's political delegation was set to leave Sunday.

Providing fuel to the ferry would have been a hard decision for Seoul because of concerns that North Korea is trying to use the Olympics to poke holes in worldwide sanctions against the country over its nuclear and missile programs.

Insook Chang, an 85-year-old grandmother who lives in South Korea, traveled to Overland Park this week to see her daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.

The vice president's visit to the Olympics in Pyeongchang comes during a time of tension between the USA and North Korea.

They said Pence could have opted to sit with the U.S. delegation and avoided the box that included the North Koreans.

The early plan showed Pence, with his wife to the left and Moon to his right, seated across the round table from Kim, who was nestled between U.N. Secretary General Antnio Guterres and International Olympics Committee President Thomas Bach's wife. But Mr Trump, the officials said, was suspicious of a publicity stunt that would play to North Korea's advantage.

Mr Moon is eager to use Kim Yo Jong's presence at the games to restore regular communication with North Korea and eventually pull it into nuclear talks.

President Trump has traded insults with North Korea's leader and has led efforts to slap sanctions on the country for its refusal to yield to worldwide pressure to halt its nuclear weapons program.

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Just ask Team USA long track speed skater Erin Jackson, who had to miss the Winter Olympics opening ceremony due to an illness. She placed 7th at the World Cups thus making her a junior national luge champion when she competed as a member of the U.S.

"The entire world is watching us here today and expectations on both Koreas are high", Moon said.

Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence - and Fred Warmbier (R), the father of an American held captive by Pyongyang - meet with North Korean defectors in South Korea Friday.

The invitation was delivered in a meeting between Moon and the North Korean leader's sister, Yo-jong. But speculation is growing it might fire off another if South Korea and the United States resume joint military drills after the Paralympics in March.

During the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, South Korean figure skater Yuna Kim was chosen to light the Olympic cauldron, signaling the official start to the games.

Yet in a statement responding to Kim's invitation to Moon, Pence's office didn't even mention the potential summit.

The warm reception was at odds with the position taken by USA vice-president Mike Pence.

The last summit between leaders of the two Koreas occurred in 2007 when South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun and Kim Jong-il met in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

President Donald Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un made a civilized appearance together at the Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, but they were impostors.

Moon is joined by his national security director, intelligence chief, chief of staff and the unification minister.

Sources told CNN that the sending of ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam and Kim's sibling Kim Yo Jong reads as more of a symbolic act than any concrete diplomatic initiative by North Korea.