2018 Winter Olympic guests include Ivanka Trump, Pence, other major world figures

By Kaitlyn Schallhorn

Published February 25, 2018

From Vice President Mike Pence to Kim Jong Un's sister, several world leaders and guests attended the 2018 Winter Olympic Games.

The games kicked off on Feb. 9 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and ended on Feb. 25.

Aside from cheering on the athletes, some Olympic guests used their time in the Asian nation to engage in diplomacy efforts. Here’s a look at who traveled to South Korea.

Mike and Karen Pence

Vice President Mike Pence, right, walks to his seat alongside second lady Karen Pence at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

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 planning to meet secretly with North Korean officials at the Games, but the North canceled at the last minute, Pence’s chief of staff said. He alluded that the meeting was canceled 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

Ivanka Trump estrecha la mano del presidente surcoreano Moon Jae-in durante una cena en la presidencial Casa Azul el viernes 23 de febrero de 2018, en Seúl, Corea del Sur. (Kim Min-Hee/Fotografía de Pool vía AP)

Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter, and South Korean President Moon.  (AP)

President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka, who serves as an unpaid adviser to her father, led the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremony. 

She arrived in South Korea on Feb. 23. 

“My daughter, Ivanka, just arrived in South Korea. We cannot have a better, or smarter, person representing our country,” Trump said on social media.

Shortly after she arrived, Ivanka Trump made a statement from the Incheon International Airport. 

“It's a great honor to be here in South Korea with the U.S. delegation. We are very excited to attend the 2018 Winter Olympic Games to cheer for team USA and to reaffirm our strong and enduring commitment with the people of the Republic of Korea.”

Ivanka Trump later joined South Korean President Moon Jae-in and first lady Kim Jung-sook for a dinner at the Blue House.

The first daughter also attended some of the remaining sporting events during her trip, including the men's curling and men's big air finals.

During her visit, Ivanka Trump sat in the same box with Kim Yong Choi, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Worker's Party Central Committee. They did not appear to interact when Moon shook hands with dignitaries at the beginning of Sunday's closing ceremony.

Sarah Sanders

Curling - Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics - Men's Final - Sweden v U.S. - Gangneung Curling Center - Gangneung, South Korea - February 24, 2018 - U.S. President Donald Trump's daughter and senior White House adviser, Ivanka Trump, and White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders applaud during the men's final. REUTERS/John Sibley - DEVEE2O0OUI30

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, far right, cheers on U.S. Olympic athletes along with Ivanka Trump in South Korea.  (Reuters/John Sibley)

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders arrived in South Korea for the Olympics with Ivanka Trump.

And like the first daughter, Sanders attended several of the games while at the Olympics, including watching the U.S. men’s curling team win gold.

Fred Warmbier

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, left, shakes hands with Fred Warmbier, the father of Otto Warmbier, an American who died last year, days after his release from captivity in North Korea, at the Cheonan Memorial in Pyeongtaek, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. Pence is using his appearance at the Winter Olympics to call on the international community to grow tougher on North Korea's nuclear program and human rights abuses. (Korea Pool/Yonhap via AP)

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.

Fred Warmbier and his wife attended President Trump’s State of the Union address as a guest of the White House earlier this year.

He and Pence 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,” Fred 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

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un's younger sister Kim Yo Jong arrives at Incheon International Airport, South Korea,  in this photo taken by Kyodo February 9, 2018.  Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS   ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. MANDATORY CREDIT. JAPAN OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN JAPAN. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION WILL BE PROVIDED SEPARATELY. - RC1A99AA3200

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 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 

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, watches the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, Pool)

Kim Yong Chol watches the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Kim Yong Chol, a senior party official suspected of leading two deadly attacks on the South in 2010, sat in the VIP box at Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang for the Olympic closing ceremonies, just a few feet away from Ivanka Trump and the top U.S. military commander on the peninsula, Gen. Vincent Brooks.

The former anti-Seoul military intelligence chief watched K-pop performances and fireworks and stood for the South Korean national anthem.

Earlier Sunday, Kim said his country was willing to open talks with the U.S. He said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wanted to improve ties with Washington and had “ample intentions of holding talks” with its rival, according to the South’s presidential office.

He reportedly made the remarks during a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. 

Shinzo Abe

South Korean President Moon Jae-in shakes hands with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe during their meeting in Pyeongchang, South Korea February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji - RC1E4ED83050

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, greeted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the Winter Olympics.  (Reuters/Kim Hong-Ji)

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 also promoted its country ahead of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Olympic-goers were able to visit the Tokyo 2020 Japan House, which showcases the latest technology, according to Reuters.

Like 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, attended 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.

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http://www.foxnews.com/sports/2018/02/25/2018-winter-olympic-guests-include-ivanka-trump-pence-other-major-world-figures.html