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North Korea cancels secret meeting with Pence at Olympics

Vice President Mike Pence and Mrs. Karen Pence attend the 2018 Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium, Friday, February 9, 2018, in Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen)
February 21, 2018

North Korean officials cancelled a secret meeting that was scheduled with Vice President Mike Pence just two hours before the meeting was scheduled to take place while both parties were at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

The State Department late Tuesday confirmed that Pence was going to meet with Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. Jong was in South Korea to observe the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, as was Pence.

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert tweeted Tuesday that a “possibility arose” of a brief meeting with North Korean delegates who were also at the Olympic Games.

Pence was reportedly going to bring up that North Korea should abandon its ballistic and nuclear missile program aspirations.

But the meeting was later cancelled at the last minute, Nauert said.

“At the last minute, [North Korean] officials decided not to go forward with the meeting,” she wrote. “We regret their failure to seize this opportunity. We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses,or for mourning a young American’s unjust death.”

Otto Warmbier’s father was Vice President Pence’s guest at the Olympics this year.

Warmbier was the American student who was detained and imprisoned in North Korea for 17 months, and later died after being medically evacuated from the country this past June. He was in a coma at the time, and had been for 15 of the 17 months he was detained in North Korea. It is believed Warmbier was tortured.

“The maximum pressure campaign deepening North Korea’s diplomatic and economic isolation will continue until [North Korea] agrees to credible talks on a way forward to a denuclearized Korean Peninsula,” Nauert tweeted Tuesday.

The State Department confirmed that Vice President Mike Pence was going to meet with North Korean delegates, but they cancelled. (Twitter)

It was an historic albeit apprehensive moment when North and South Korean officials met and shook hands at the Olympics; North Korea often deploys diversion tactics and tries to show a positive image to the world, while the country is run into the ground by a leader who wants to create a ballistic and nuclear missile arsenal that can destroy the United States.