Ivanka Trump to attend Winter Olympics finale in S. Korea

Ivanka Trump received a red-carpet welcome in South Korea on Friday as head of the US delegation to this weekend's closing ceremony for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang.

It remains to be seen what, if any, interaction Trump will have with North Korea's delegation during her time in South Korea.

Her arrival at the airport was broadcast live on TV, and she was to have dinner with President Moon Jae-in in the presidential compound, according to South Korean media.

The North Korean delegation will be led by Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of the Party Central Committee, and will stay for three days from Sunday, South Korea's Ministry of Unification said in a statement.

North Korea's Kim Yong-chol, right, shakes hands with South Korean Col. Kil Jang-sub, left, as a North Korean delegation crosses the border into South Korea for a meeting at the border village of Panmunjom, May 18, 2006 in South Korea.

Vice President Pence sat just a row away from the younger Kim and other senior North Korean officials at the opening, but did not exchange a word with anyone from the delegation.

His visit is marked with controversy due to North Korea's previous provocations.

The official said South Korea had informed the United States of the visit and they were in talks about Kim Yong Chol's entry into the South.

Seoul blames the North for the 2010 sinking of the Cheonan - widely believed in the South to have been ordered by Kim Yong Chol - although Pyongyang denies responsibility.

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Earlier this week, the USA government said Vice President Mike Pence had been set to meet North Korean officials during his visit to South Korea for the opening ceremony, but that the North Korean side canceled at the last minute.

He was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a top North Korean military intelligence agency, which South Korea blamed for the deadly 2010 sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean navy corvette.

The Pyeongchang Games have become a venue for geopolitics as much as sports as the nuclear-armed North mounts a charm offensive analysts say is meant to loosen the sanctions regime against it and weaken the alliance between Seoul and Washington.

But the North's participation in the Games has led to an easing in tensions on the Korean peninsula in recent weeks.

Their overlapping schedule is sparking speculation that there could be a possibility of some kind of contact between the U.S. and North Korean officials on the sidelines of the sporting event, though government officials from both sides say the chances were "slim".

Ri Son Gwon will travel with Kim Yong Chol for the Games closing ceremony.

Kim Yo-jong met Moon and delivered her brother's "surprise" invitation to visit the North for a summit meeting.

Ivanka thanked Moon and his wife, Kim Jung-sook, for their warm welcome and hospitality, but said her trip was partly aimed at reaffirming the allies' commitment to "maximum pressure" against the North.

Speculation only grew after her departure, when local media reported that Kim Yo Jong was pregnant.

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