2018 Winter Olympic guests include Ivanka Trump, Pence, others
Vice President Mike Pence (bottom right) sits between second lady Karen Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Seated behind Pence are Kim Yong Nam (third from top right) president of the Presidium of North Korean Parliament and Kim Yo Jong (top right), sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semanksy)
From Vice President Mike Pence to Kim Jong Un’s sister, several world leaders and guests are attending the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.
The games kicked off on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. local time (6 a.m. ET) in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Aside from cheering on the athletes, some Olympic guests engaged in diplomacy efforts. Here’s a look at who traveled to South Korea.
Mike and Karen Pence
Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen attended the Olympics opening ceremony.
(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
Vice President Pence and second lady Karen Pence led the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics.
Pence’s presence at the games was meant to reinforce strong U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula and send a clear message of “American resolve” to the North Korean regime, a White House official told Fox News ahead of the trip.
The vice president was reportedly planning to meet with North Korean officials at the Games, but the North cancelled at the last minute, Pence’s chief of staff said. He alluded that the meeting was cancelled because Pence would not be “softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics.”
During the opening ceremony, Pence sat in front of members of the North Korean delegation, including Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong. She did not interact with Pence.
Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, is expected to lead the U.S. delegation at the Olympics’ closing ceremony.
President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who serves as an unpaid adviser, will lead the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremony at the Olympics, according to the White House.
Ivanka will reportedly meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the start of her weekend trip. However, she does not plan to meet with any North Korean officials while there, Reuters reported.
While she is in South Korea, Ivanka is also expected to attend some of the sporting events.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is expected to attend the Olympics with the U.S. delegation for the closing ceremony.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders will be a part of the U.S. delegation at the Olympics closing ceremony, a White House official told Fox News.
After the U.S. women’s hockey team won the gold medal this week – its first since 1998 – Sanders tweeted congratulations and said she “can’t wait to get to the Olympics and cheer on the USA!”
Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, is attending the Olympic Games as Vice President Mike Pence’s guest.
(Korea Pool/Yonhap via AP)
Fred Warmbier attended the Olympic Games as a guest of Vice President Mike Pence. Warmbier is the father of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died last year after 15 months of imprisonment in North Korea.
Warmbier and his wife attended President Trump’s State of the Union address as a guest of the White House earlier this year.
Pence and Warmbier met with North Korean defectors.
“I’ve experienced evil, and you have too. And I just feel so much love and warmth for you all,” Warmbier said, according to a White House transcript. “And I just can’t tell you how proud I am to be here with you.”
Kim Yo Jong
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attended the Olympic Games opening ceremony in the South. She will be the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the South in about 60 years.
(Kyodo via Reuters)
The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un represented her country at the Olympics. Kim Yo Jong shook hands with South Korean President Moon Jae-in during the opening ceremony, but ignored U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
Believed to be 30 years old, Kim Yo Jong is the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the South since the end of the Korean War in the 1953.
She stayed in the South for three days. While there, she told South Korean leaders that her brother hoped for a summit.
Kim Yong Nam, the 90-year-old ceremonial head of state, was also part of the opening ceremony delegation.
Kim Yong Chol, a senior party official suspected of leading two deadly attacks on the South in 2010, is expected to lead North Korea’s closing ceremony delegation.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) is greeted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in (right) at the Winter Olympics.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended the Olympic opening ceremony – and soon it will be his country’s turn.
In addition to cheering on its athletes, the Japanese delegation is also promoting its country ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Olympic-goers can visit the Tokyo 2020 Japan House, which showcases the latest technology, according to Reuters.
Like U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Shinzo did not interact with the North Korean delegation during the opening ceremony. He also urged countries “not to be lured by the charm offensive of North Korea” at the games.
Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca and the Vatican
The Vatican, led by Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca of the Pontifical Council for Culture, are attending the Winter Olympics. And for the first time, the delegation was invited to attend and observe a session of IOC members.
“I was invited as a distinguished guest to the opening of the Rio Olympic Games, but now this relationship has been brought to a higher level. The International Olympic Committee has addressed a formal invitation to the Holy See to be present at the opening of the Olympic Games as an official delegation, so to speak”, Sanchez said in a statement.
He also applauded the athletes from North and South Korea who marched together in the opening ceremony, saying it’s an example of “the hope of a better world.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Kaitlyn Schallhorn is a Reporter for Fox News. Follow her on Twitter @K_Schallhorn.