'No interaction' between Ivanka Trump and North Korean delegation at Olympic ceremony: White House official

PHOTO: South Koreas President Moon Jae-in greets Ivanka Trump as North Korean General Kim Yong Chol, rear right, looks on during the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Feb. 25, 2018.PlayWang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images
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Ivanka Trump sat within an arm's length of the North Korean delegation at the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games on Sunday, but there was no interaction between her and the Hermit Kingdom envoys, according to a senior Trump administration official.

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The First Daughter and Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. forces in Korea, watched the closing ceremonies from the VIP box of South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Ivanka Trump sat next to South Korea’s First Lady Kim Jung-sook, while seated behind her was Gen. Kim Yong-chol, North Korea's former military chief of intelligence.

PHOTO: Vice President Mike Pence and North Koreas Kim Yo Jong, the sister to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Feb. 9, 2018. Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images
Vice President Mike Pence and North Korea's Kim Yo Jong, the sister to North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Feb. 9, 2018.

During the closing ceremony, Ivanka Trump and the U.S. delegation congratulated Moon and the First Lady "on an incredible Olympic Games and applauded throughout the ceremonies, including for the U.S. and South Korean Athletes," the administration official said in a statement.

Also part of the U.S. delegation was Allison Hooker, a National Security Council adviser for Korean issues.

"There was no interaction with the North Korean delegation," the official said.

The White House official added the "U.S. Presidential delegation's attendance at the closing ceremonies was the culmination of a successful trip where we celebrated the Olympic Games, U.S. athletes and our strong alliance with South Korea."

PHOTO: Unlike the unity that they showed in the opening ceremony, athletes of North Korea wore red jackets while South Korean athletes wore white jackets. They both carried their countries flags at the closing ceremony, Feb. 25, 2018. Kyodo via Newscom
Unlike the unity that they showed in the opening ceremony, athletes of North Korea wore red jackets while South Korean athletes wore white jackets. They both carried their countries flags at the closing ceremony, Feb. 25, 2018.

The interaction between President Trump's daughter and Gen. Kim, who headed an eight-member North Korean delegation, was similar to the cold-shoulder encounter between Vice President Mike Pence and the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un during the opening ceremonies in Pyeongchang.

"The United States of America doesn’t stand with murderous dictatorships, we stand up to murderous dictatorships," Pence said in a speech Thursday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. “We will 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."

The stalemate between Ivanka Trump and the North Korean delegates played out before a global audience watching the closing ceremonies just three days after President Trump announced the "largest ever" sanctions against North Korea aimed at disrupting North Korean shipping and trading companies.

Just before the Olympic closing ceremonies, Moon's office issued a statement confirming the South Korean president met with Gen. Kim, who expressed North Korea's "willingness" to open talks with the United States.

PHOTO: Athletes of the Unified inter-Korean team, were all dressed in white jackets as they arrived during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Feb. 9, 2018. Diego Azubel/EPA via Shutterstock.
Athletes of the Unified inter-Korean team, were all dressed in white jackets as they arrived during the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Feb. 9, 2018.

"President Moon pointed out the urgency to hold [a] dialogue between North Korea and the U.S. in order to ... resolve the issues on the Korean Peninsula and to improve inter-Korean relations," according to the South Korean statement.

Meanwhile, the closing ceremonies emphasized the "human spirit of perseverance" and capped the 23rd Olympic Winter Games with a combination of music, dance, art and a spectacular fireworks display against the backdrop of Pyeongchang's snow-capped mountains.

Athletes who participated in the Games marched into the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium waved the flags of their countries. South and North Korean athletes marched together, as they did in the opening ceremony.

"The Olympic Winter Games at Pyeongchang has come to an end, but the time of peace will continue," Korean President Moon said in his closing remarks.