As Ivanka Arrives in S. Korea, One Big Question Lingers

Will she meet anyone from the North?
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 23, 2018 8:18 AM CST
Flanked by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, left, Ivanka Trump arrives at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea, Friday.   (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon. Pool)

(Newser) – Ivanka Trump received a red-carpet welcome as she arrived in South Korea on Friday for a trip with two main official components: She dines with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday evening and will attend the closing ceremony of the Olympics Sunday to cheer on US athletes. Coverage, however, is focusing on whether the first daughter might be playing a larger diplomatic role on behalf of the US. Details:

  • The comparison: The North seemed to score a PR coup when Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's Kim Jong Un, arrived for the opening ceremony, and the comparisons to Ivanka's trip are "inevitable," per CNN. "In purely symbolic terms, she's probably the best face of this administration," says Evan Resnick of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
  • Pence counter: VP Mike Pence also appeared at the opening ceremony, where he ignored Kim's sister in public and generally projected a hard-line image to the North, which may have contributed to Pyongyang's decision to cancel a meeting with him. That didn't please South Korea, and Ivanka's trip could ease tensions overall, reports the New York Times. "It's nice if you can put a velvet glove over the iron fist," says Evan Medeiros, former Asia adviser to President Obama.

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