NATIONAL

[Newsmaker] Ivanka Trump likely to join closing ceremony at PyeongChang

By Claire Lee
  • Published : Feb 6, 2018 - 16:58
  • Updated : Feb 6, 2018 - 16:58

Ivanka Trump, US President Donald Trump’s daughter, is likely to attend the closing ceremony of the upcoming PyeongChang Olympics, CNN reported.

Citing a White House official, CNN reported that Trump, who also serves as her father’s senior adviser, was requested by the US President and the United States Olympic Committee to lead the country’s presidential delegation to South Korea.

Last month, US President Donald Trump told his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-in that the US would be sending a “high-level delegation” to PyeongChang.

Ivanka Trump (AP-Yonhap)

It was previously reported that US Vice President Mike Pence, not Ivanka Trump, was scheduled to lead the US delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

A successful businesswoman and former fashion model, Ivanka Trump has been advising her father on issues such as women’s economic empowerment and tax reform, among others.

She has also worked with the city of Los Angeles and the International Olympic Committee to host the Summer Games in 2028 in Los Angeles, according to CNN.

This will be her first time visiting South Korea since her father’s inauguration last year.

Prior to CNN’s report on Ivanka leading the US delegation to PyeongChang, it had been reported that the group includes two top military commanders, and Fred Warmbier, whose son Otto died last year after being freed from North Korean captivity.

Fred Warmbier, in particular, is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony of the upcoming Olympic Games as a special guest. It is not clear whether he is slated to attend the game’s closing ceremony as well.

Cheong Wa Dae did not confirm whether Ivanka Trump is indeed attending the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Games. It is still “in talks” with the White House, its officials said.

Her visit to PyeongChang -- should Trump indeed proceed -- is taking place shortly after South Korea witnessed  the emergence of its own kind of #MeToo movement, following a female prosecutor’s public accusation against a former senior Justice Ministry official of sexually harassing her in the past.

Trump’s daughter has been well-received by women in East Asia, especially in Japan where she has been referred to as a “media darling” during her visits to Tokyo.

However, her conference on women’s empowerment in Tokyo in November had a surprisingly low turn-out, as half of the seats were left empty.

“As an individual she seems to be charming and intelligent; I wouldn’t have any problems with her if she and Donald Trump were not related,” said Kim So-young a 32-year-old woman  in Seoul.

“But it’s kind of disheartening to see her talking about women’s rights and empowerment when she obviously knows the kind of things her own father has been saying about women, especially in this time period when silence (among victims of sexual violence) is finally starting to break.”

The upcoming Winter Olympics run from Friday to Feb. 25.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)