Monday 18 June 2018

Ivanka Trump arrives in South Korea for Olympics

Hopes are high in South Korea that she may deliver a message from President Trump on North Korea.

Ivanka Trump arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon (Ahn Young-joon/AP)
Ivanka Trump arrives at Incheon International Airport in Incheon (Ahn Young-joon/AP)

By Youkyung Lee, Associated Press

Ivanka Trump has landed in South Korea to attend this weekend’s closing ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

South Korea has rolled out the red carpet for her first visit since her father Donald Trump became US president.

Her arrival at the airport was broadcast live on TV.

South Korean media reports said the special treatment includes the venue for dinner on Friday with President Moon Jae-in: a traditional Korean house at Mr Moon’s office.

A North Korean delegation will also attend the closing ceremony, but the South Korean government said it is unlikely that Ms Trump would meet North Koreans or defectors from North Korea.

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Ivanka's arrival caused a stir in South Korea (AP)

Hopes are high in South Korea that she may deliver a message from President Trump on North Korea.

She told media at the airport that she is “very, very excited to attend the 2018 Winter Olympic Games (and) cheer for team USA”.

South Korean media said Mr Moon would emphasise the importance of US-North Korea talks during the dinner with Ivanka Trump and other members of a US delegation.

Mr Moon hopes to make the Olympics an avenue for peace on the divided Korean Peninsula.

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Ms Trump. flanked by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, arrives at the Incheon International Airport (AP)

But while the games appear to have paved a way for possible rapprochement between the two Koreas, US and North Korean officials have yet to make direct contact.

Earlier this week, the US government said Vice President Mike Pence was set to meet North Korean officials during his visit to South Korea for the opening ceremony, but that North Korea cancelled at the last minute.

Mr Moon met Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and Kim Yong Nam, North Korea’s nominal head of state, a day after the opening ceremony and urged North Korea to do more to engage in a dialogue with the United States.

For now, there are no signs that Ivanka Trump will meet Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee, who is to attend the closing ceremony.

The White House has emphasised that the purpose of her visit is to celebrate athletes’ achievements, highlighting that she is a winter sports enthusiast herself.

She is expected to attend the games on Saturday before Sunday’s closing ceremony.

Press Association

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