By Gordon G. Chang, Fox News
Vice President Mike Pence, who will head the U.S. delegation at Friday’s opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, will also be competing in a difficult new event not on any Olympic program. You might call it diplomatic ice wrestling.
Pence will be going up against a group of high-profile representatives from nearby North Korea, a place the vice president has aptly called the world’s “most tyrannical and oppressive regime.”
North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is sending two competitors: his head of state, Kim Yong Nam and, more significantly, his sister, Kim Yo Jong, the first vice director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party. She is the first immediate member of the Kim family, which has ruled the North for seven decades, to visit South Korea.
Pence’s task will not be easy. Unbelievable as it sounds, the leaders of both North and South Korea are working together like teammates – despite the fact that America and other nations fought to save the South from being overrun by the North after regime founder Kim Il Sung invaded the South in June 1950. From then until the armistice ended fighting in July 1953, nearly 37,000 Americans died.
Ever since, the U.S. military has deterred the Kim regime from attacking the South in full force.
The good news is that South Korea’s people are increasingly backing America over President Moon Jae-in and his unlikely new friend, Kim Jong Un.
Pence’s first stop on his five-day, two-nation Asia trip was Japan, where he met staunch American ally Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. There the vice president promised “the toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions” on the North.
“And we will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile program once and for all,” Pence declared.
As for Pence’s trip to South Korea, his mission was clear. “We’re not going to let the North Korea propaganda machine hijack the messaging of the Olympics,” his communications director, Jarrod Agen, told the Washington Post. “The vice president will remind the world that anything the North Koreans do during the Olympics is a charade to disguise the reality of the oppression inside North Korea.”