Trump and other world leaders 'won't be in PyeongChang'
Donald Trump, the US president, and other major world leaders are not expected to attend next month’s winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, according to Korean press reports.
Mike Pence, the US vice-president who is anticipated to head the US delegation, said this week: “The underlying message is the president is sending us there to make it clear that we stand with South Korea, we stand with our allies in the region.
“And we will continue to bring maximum economic and diplomatic pressure to bear until North Korea abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs that threaten the United States of America.”
Xi Jinping the Chinese president, and Shinzo Abe, the Japanese prime minister, have been invited to attend by South Korea’s president Moon Jae-in, but are not expected to go, despite Japan and China being the hosts of the next two editions of the Olympics, in Tokyo and Beijing, respectively.
However, President Xi is reported to have told his South Korean counterpart President Moon by phone that he was content with an advancement in Seoul-Beijing ties, adding that this year China will work with South Korea toward strengthening strategic communication and appropriately tackling sensitive issues as well as striving for peace and stability in the region.
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, is not expected to attend the games in light of the exclusion of a formal Russian team in the wake of Russia’s ‘state-supported’ doping scandal of the past two years.
Last month, the International Olympic Committee decided that only ‘clean’ Russian athletes will be allowed to compete, and only under the name ‘Olympic Athlete from Russia’, wearing uniforms bearing this name, and competing under the Olympic flag, with the Olympic anthem to be played at any ceremony.
Sabre rattling between South and North Korea is continuing despite a surprise détente announced earlier this week under which a North Korean delegation, comprising athletes, officials and supporters, will attend.
North Korea yesterday called for a permanent halt to planned annual joint US-South Korean military exercises, which have already been delayed to avoid overlapping with the winter Paralympic Games.
The official Rodong Sinmun wrote: “If the South Korean authorities really want détente and peace, they should first stop all the military acts they have waged with the US against their brethren.
“The two Koreas cannot remove mutual distrust and confrontation, and move toward unification, under persistent military tensions.”