Ivanka Trump, top N Korean general to attend Winter Olympics finale
(Eds: Updates with more inputs)
By Lalit K Jha
Washington, Feb 22 (PTI) US President Donald Trump's daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump may come face to face with a top North Korean general, as both are set to attend the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea this weekend.
Ivanka will be leading a high-profile American delegation to the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, being held in Pyeongchang, the White House announced yesterday.
North Korea will also send a high-level delegation to the event, to be held Sunday, South Korean officials were quoted as saying by Yonhap news agency today.
Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK)'s central committee, will lead the eight-member delegation, which will stay in the South for three days, according to Seoul's unification ministry.
President Trump and North Korea's supreme leader Kim Jong-un have been hurtling insults at each other in the last few months. But the tension mellowed down a bit since the Winter Olympics began on February 9 with North Korea participating in it.
US vice president Mike Pence had attended the opening ceremony of the mega event where Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong was also in attendance.
"I am honoured to lead the US delegation to the closing ceremonies of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. 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," Ivanka, 36, said.
Other members of the delegation include James E Risch, Chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counter-terrorism, Sarah H Sanders, Press Secretary and General Vincent K Brooks, Commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and US Forces Korea.
According to a senior administration official, the delegation would be in South Korea to not only cheer on American athletes, but also reaffirm the US-South Korea alliance and reach out to and meet athletes from all countries, particularly from South Korea, and the South Korean people.
During the transition and at the beginning of the administration, Ivanka was involved in conversations with the Olympic committee about the mega event coming over to Los Angeles, another administration official said, explaining the reason for her being selected for the delegation.
Ivanka, during her stay in South Korea, would have a meeting with the South Korean President, the official said.
"A big part of our message, with regard to the Korean peninsula, is also standing shoulder to shoulder with a vital ally, celebrating the success of that ally and the remarkable transformation and rise of its society and economy over the past more than half century since the Korean War ended in 1953," the official said.
The official added that this will make clear to the world that the US and South Korea stand together as partners in this alliance, in a relationship and a friendship that "transcends the alliance", that's economic and cultural and so on.
"So, that's the fundamental, core message that she's going to be carrying. It's not meant to, nor does it detract from any other message, or indicate that we're turning away from any other message.
"But we think that, the appropriate message for this delegation to take, at the close of a successful games, is to say 'Well done and congratulations' to the South Korean people and forward to many more years of fruitful partnership between the two countries," said the official