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White House: ‘No’ chance Ivanka Trump meets with North Korean officials

Ivanka Trump on October 26, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
February 22, 2018

Ivanka Trump is not expected to meet with any North Korean officials later this week when she leads the White House’s official delegation to the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympic Games.

Asked if the president’s daughter and senior adviser could meet with North Korean officials while in Pyeongchang, South Korea, a senior official replied, “No.”

Vice President Mike Pence was seated in the same box as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong during the Games’ opening ceremony earlier this month. South Korean President Moon Jae-in shook hands with Kim Yo Jong during the same event, raising talk of a thawing of relations between the two countries.

Another senior administration official said the Ivanka Trump-led group is going to “reaffirm” the “close” relationship between the U.S. and South Korean governments, as well as cheer on American athletes and get to know the South Korean people.

The group leaves Thursday morning for Seoul, where Ivanka Trump will have dinner with Moon at the Blue House on Friday night. She will spend the next two days mostly at Olympic events featuring American athletes. The closing ceremony takes place on Sunday.

Amid reports that she will be feted on a level typically reserved for U.S. first ladies, one of the senior administration officials said the White House expects the entire delegation will be treated “as members of the presidential delegation and nothing beyond that.”

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, will be among those joining Ivanka Trump as part of the official U.S. delegation, senior administration officials said Wednesday. He is chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia and Counterterrorism.

Also part of the delegation will be White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in a break from past administrations. She is going “as a female” to cheer on American women competing at the Games, one of the senior officials said.


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