SEOUL – US President Donald Trump’s daughter and advisor Ivanka Trump concluded on Monday her trip to South Korea without meeting with any North Korean officials.
She had been in the country on a three-day visit to attend Sunday’s closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, at which a delegation of senior officials from Pyongyang, including top ranking general Kim Yong-chol, were also expected.
“It was a wonderful first visit and just exciting and beautiful,” Trump told reporters at Incheon International Airport, according to Yonhap news agency. “I look forward to returning back. Thanks for the warm hospitality.”
Trump declined to comment on a statement from the South Korean presidency on Sunday that North Korea was ready to hold talks with Washington.
Her father threatened last year to respond to North Korea’s continuing weapons program with “fire and fury like the world has never seen,” and has referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as “Little Rocket Man.”
Kim Jong-un carried out a series of nuclear weapons and missile tests, leading to a war of words and escalating threats between Washington and Pyongyang, as well as a series of United Nations Security Council sanctions.
The Games have served as a platform to help diffuse bilateral tensions between North and South Korea; Pyongyang sent a cheerleading troupe to PyeongChang, and athletes from both countries marched under a neutral flag during the opening ceremony.
Despite this diplomatic thaw, the US has refused to open a dialogue with Pyongyang.
“The United States of America doesn’t stand with murderous dictatorships. We stand up to murderous dictatorships,” US Vice President Mike Pence told the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) last week, adding that the US would “keep standing strong until North Korea stops threatening our country, our allies, or until they abandon their nuclear and ballistic missiles once and for all.”