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Politics Return to Olympics’ Sidelines As Ivanka Trump Leads U.S. Delegation for Closing Ceremony

AP Ivanka II
AP Photo/Mahesh Kumar A..
PENNY STARR

Politics will be in the spotlight again at the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeongchang when Ivanka Trump, daughter, and adviser to President Donald Trump, arrives to view some of the final competitions and serve as the head of the U.S. delegation at the games’ closing ceremony on Sunday.

“All eyes are on any message Ivanka Trump might bring on behalf of her father, amid growing speculations of talks between Pyongyang and Washington following rare inter-Korean rapprochement,” the Korea Herald/Asia News Network reported.

The Network reported:

Her visit comes two weeks after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un sent his sister Kim Yo Jong for the opening ceremony of the winter games.

On Feb. 10, Kim delivered the North Korean leader’s invitation for South Korean President Moon Jae In to visit Pyongyang.

The Daily Mail reported that South Korea will “roll out the red carpet” for Trump.

The Chosun Ilbo, a major South Korean newspaper, reported Monday that Trump, also a top White House adviser, will receive VIP treatment when she touches down on the peninsula on February 25,” the Mail reported.

“The government apparently wants to soften her up, so [President] Trump agrees to a mooted visit to Pyongyang by President Moon Jae-in,” the article in the English version of the paper said, according to the Mail.

A South Korean official was quoted in the article as saying President Moon might accompany Trump ahead of the closing ceremony.

“Ivanka enjoys sports and especially skiing, so we are discussing having the president travel to Pyeongchang with her to watch a skiing competition,” a South Korean official said.

Moon and first lady Kim are expected to host either a lunch or dinner for Ivanka Trump before the closing ceremony, the Mail reported.

Aside from niceties, which will reportedly include gifts for Trump’s three children, there will also be diplomatic efforts aimed at getting the official stamp of approval from the U.S. on a North Korea, South Korea summit.

“With Ivanka Trump, the South Koreans can try again,” the Mail reported, referring to Vice President Mike Pence’s rebuff of the head of North Korea’s propaganda department and sister to dictator Kim Jong Un, Kim Yo Jong.

“Since President Trump cannot make it to Pyeongchang, Ivanka is his proxy and envoy,” one ruling-party official told Chosun Ilbo. ‘It’s important to win her support to realize an inter-Korean summit.’

The White House has not officially named the members of the American delegation heading to the closing ceremony, according to the Mail.

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