PYEONGCHANG, South Korea—It’s official: Ivanka Trump is Olympics bound.
The White House announced Thursday that Trump, a senior adviser to her father President Trump, will lead the presidential delegation travelling to South Korea for Sunday’s closing ceremony.
She’s also expected to get plenty of face-time with South Korea President Moon Jae-in, while visiting the capital city of Seoul and Pyeongchang. Moon is scheduled to host her for dinner in Seoul on Friday and she will attend the Olympic Games on Saturday and the closing ceremony on Sunday.
“I am honored to lead the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremonies of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics,” Trump said in a statement. “We look forward to congratulating Team USA and celebrating all that our athletes have achieved. Their talent, drive, grit and spirit embodies American excellence, and inspire us all.”
The other members of the official delegation are: Sen. James Risch, an Idaho Republican; Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces Korea; Marc Knapper, interim chargé d’affaires ad interim at the U.S. Embassy Seoul; Shauna Rohbock, a former Team USA bobsledder and member of the U.S. Army National Guard; and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders
It remains to be seen what, if any, interaction Trump will have with North Korea’s delegation during her time in South Korea. White House officials said Trump has no plans to meet with North Korean officials.
Vice President Pence sat just a row away from the younger Kim and other senior North Korean officials at the opening, but did not exchange a word with anyone from the delegation.
Aides to Pence said Wednesday North Korea broached the idea of meeting with the vice president and the vice president agreed. North Korea, however, backed out at the last second, said Nick Ayers, the vice president’s chief of staff.
The North sent 22 athletes to compete on a unified squad with South Korea as well as an art troupe and more than 200 members of Kim’s “Army of Beauties” cheerleaders.
Moon has heralded the North’s participation as a crucial moment in helping deescalate tensions between the two countries over the North’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs.
Kim delivered an invitation to Moon through his sister inviting the South Korean president to Pyongyang for talks. Kim has not yet committed to traveling to the North, but he’s expressed hope that the thaw has created an opening to substantively reduce tensions between the two Koreas.
Administration officials say they are doubtful that the North’s recent engagement will lead to any substantive change in behavior by Kim. Still, Pence told the Washington Post after leaving the Games that direct talks between the U.S. and North Korea are possible in the future.
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