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Pence to visit Alaska as he leads U.S. delegation to Olympics in South Korea

  • Author: Reuters
  • Updated: January 10, 2018
  • Published January 10, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson leave after a joint news conference by President Donald Trump and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the White House in Washington on Wednesday. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence will lead the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next month, a senior White House official said Wednesday.

Pence will also visit Alaska and Japan as part of the trip. Pence will review ICBM defense systems in Alaska and reaffirm to the leaders of Japan and South Korea that the United States is fully committed to stability in the region, the official said.

The Pyeongchang Olympics, which start on Feb. 9, coincide with high tensions on the Korean Peninsula due to North Korean nuclear tests and contentious exchanges between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea will also send high-ranking officials, athletes and a cheering squad to the Olympics, a senior South Korean official said Tuesday.

The U.S. State Department said in a briefing Tuesday that there are not any current plans for the American delegation to meet with the North Korean delegation.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham has said he opposed inviting the North Korean delegation to the Games.

"I don't mind talks with North Korea but I do have serious concerns about legitimizing the most barbaric leader on the planet," Graham wrote in a post on Twitter on Tuesday.

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