By Kaitlyn Schallhorn, ,
Published February 26, 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.
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.
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.
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 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.”
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, 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.
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.
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.