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Homeland Security chief to lead US delegation to Paralympic Games

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will lead the Trump administration’s delegation to the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, according to a press release Tuesday.

Nielsen’s appointment to lead the delegation next month follows other U.S. administrations that have sent representatives specifically in line with the messages promoted by the Paralympics.

In 2012, first lady Michelle Obama led the U.S. delegation as part of her nationwide anti-obesity campaign, while former President George W. Bush sent a delegation of disabled U.S. veterans, led by then-Veterans Affairs Secretary James Peake, to the games.

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The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Nielsen’s attendance at the Paralympics follows the delegations led by Vice President Pence and Ivanka Trump, who attended the 2018 Winter Olympic Games’ opening and closing ceremonies, respectively.

Pence initially planned to meet with top North Korean officials during his visit, but that meeting was eventually called off by North Korea after the Trump administration’s newest round of sanctions targeting the country was announced.

The 2018 Olympics have resulted in a cooling of hostilities and newfound cooperation between South Korea and North Korea, which for the first time hosted a joint team comprised of athletes from the two nations.

Relations between the two countries have also led to North Korea’s reported willingness to engage in talks with the United States, which the White House said this weekend would have to include a focus on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

“The United States, our Olympic Host the Republic of Korea, and the international community broadly agree that denuclearization must be the result of any dialogue with North Korea,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday.

Tags 2018 Paralympic Winter Games 2018 Winter Olympic Games Bush administration Department of Homeland Security Ivanka Trump Kirstjen Nielsen Kirstjen Nielsen Michelle Obama Obama administration Trump administration

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