Mike Pence’s controversial visit to PyeongChang as part of the U.S. delegation at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics was weeks ago, but the conversation surrounding his refusal to acknowledge the North Koreans persists.
The Vice President attracted attention, both positive and negative, for his refusal to stand up for North Korea or acknowledge Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, who was seated just feet away in a reviewing stand. While the United States, along with most of their international allies, has remained firm in their foreign policy stance on North Korea, some felt that Pence’s behavior was hypocritical in light of his criticism of NFL athletes who took a knee in protest of police brutality in 2017.
Pence addressed his detractors during his CPAC 2018 speech on Thursday — specifically singling out “the mainstream media” and accusing them of fawning over Kim Yo-jong.
The USA doesn’t stand WITH murderous dictatorships — the USA stands UP to murderous dictatorships! And we will keep standing strong until North Korea stops threatening the United States and our allies — and abandons their nuclear and ballistic missile programs once and for all! pic.twitter.com/eleE7vJaR7
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 22, 2018
“The United States of America doesn’t stand with murderous dictatorships, we stand up to murderous dictatorships,” Pence told the crowd. “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.”
According to a recent report from the New York Times, Pence had planned to secretly meet with a high-level delegation of North Korean leaders while he was at the Olympics, but the North Koreans canceled at the last minute.
Ivanka Trump will lead the U.S. delegation at the Closing Ceremony this weekend, accompanied by White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Allison Hooker, a National Security Council official who specializes in Korean affairs, among others.