Pence to lead US Olympic delegation to South Korea

Pence to lead US Olympic delegation to South Korea
© Greg Nash

Vice President Pence will lead the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea amid nuclear tensions with North Korea, the White House announced Wednesday.

The trip isn’t just meant to support American athletes participating in the games, according to the vice president’s office. 

"The vice president is traveling to the Olympic Games in South Korea to reinforce the strong U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula and send a clear message of American resolve to the North Korean regime,” said Jarrod Agen, Pence’s deputy chief of staff.

Pence also plans to travel to Alaska, where he will review intercontinental ballistic missile defense systems. He will also stop in Japan to reassure leaders there, and officials from South Korea, of the U.S.’s “unwavering commitment” to regional security, Agen said. 

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The Winter Olympics are being held in Pyeongchang from Feb. 9 to 25.

South Korea and North Korea have worked in recent days to cool tensions ahead of the games. North Korean officials recently met with their South Korean counterparts and agreed to send a delegation of athletes.

Pence traveled to South Korea and Japan last year to declare an end to “the era of strategic patience” with the North’s nuclear program. 

He also made a symbolic visit to the demilitarized zone separating South Korea and North Korea.

—Updated at 1:07 p.m.