According to a Monday report by the South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo, Donald Trump's daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump will visit South Korea for the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics currently taking place in the brutally cold region of PyeongChang in Gangwon Province.
Perhaps such a visit will influence Donald Trump to visit North Korea, according to South Korean officials.
One government figure spoke with Chosun Ilbo and said,
Since President Trump cannot make it to Pyeongchang, Ivanka is his proxy and envoy. It's important to win her support to realize the inter-Korean summit.
The closing ceremony for the Winter Olympics will take place on Feb. 25, the day that the local government would like to host Trump for a "red carpet" gathering, according to the newspaper. Such a high-profile and governmental-level occasion is normally reserved for the First Lady of a visiting country but the South Korean government official told The Chosun Ilbo that the government was "considering exceptional measures by having a high-ranking official greet Ivanka and accompany her during her visit."
To amplify the significance of her visit, South Korean government officials said that Ivanka will receive security protocol from the Cheong Wae Dae team as opposed to local police. The Cheong Wae Dae team is specifically appointed to guard the office and residence of the South Korean president.
A member of the Cheong Wae Dae team told The Chosun Ilbo publication that the government took notice of Trump's interest in winter sports and said, "Ivanka enjoys sports and especially skiing, so we are discussing having the president travel to Pyeongchang with her to watch a skiing competition."
Trump is indeed an avid fan of skiing. In fact, last year, one of her trips was discussed widely in media due to the eyebrow-raising costs it incurred. An annual trip taken by Donald Trump's kids to Aspen, Colorado in 2017 cost American taxpayers at least a reported $330,000, according to the Freedom of Information Act papers CBS News received and reviewed. Additionally, this stunning figure did not include the extra $195,700 that was spent on housing Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump's families.
During her visit, Trump will meet South Korea's First Lady Kim Jung Sook. The Chosun Ilbo said that the local government wants to "lavish" Trump's children with gifts as well. With Trump's visit to South Korea, the government said that it wishes to use her influence to mend inter-Korean conflicts. The Chosun Ilbo stated, "The government apparently wants to soften her up so [Donald] Trump agrees to a mooted visit to Pyongyang by President Moon Jae In."
According to a White House official who spoke with CNN on Feb. 5, the president's daughter will also attend sporting events in PyeongChang in the presence of other American delegation members. Trump won't be the first American government official to visit South Korea as the Winter Olympics take place; vice president Mike Pence attended the Winter Olympics opening ceremony on Feb. 9. Pence ignored North Korea leader Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, at the opening ceremony.
Later on, Pence justified it to Axios by saying, "I didn't believe it was proper for the United States of America to give any countenance or attention in that form to someone who's not merely the sister of the dictator but is the leader of the propaganda effort." Some observers said Pence's gesture undermined efforts to improve relations with North Korea. One writer, Molly Roberts, described Pence as "the worst possible person the United States could have sent" to South Korea in The Washington Post. Perhaps with Trump's visit, the United States might have another chance to improve its relationship with both South and North Korea.