February 20, 2018
U.S. President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka will meet women who escaped North Korea when she visits South Korea, sources said Monday.
The “first daughter” is coming for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang on Sunday.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also made a point of meeting four North Korean defectors when he was here for the opening ceremony, which was also attended by a North Korean delegation led by Kim Jong-un’s sister Yo-jong, whom Pence refused to acknowledge.
The emerging pattern is that the U.S. is determined to call North Korea out on its human rights abuses even as the North continues its charm offensive toward Seoul.
Ivanka Trump’s office reportedly made contacts with several defectors and defector groups through the U.S. State Department and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.
Park Sang-hak, a defector who heads a group campaigning for human rights in North Korea, told reporters that Trump wants to meet female defectors who suffered severe persecution from the North Korean regime.
And Cho Myung-sook, the vice principal of the Yeomyung School for North Korean defectors, told the Chosun Ilbo, “We were asked to introduce female defectors in their teens and 20s who suffered hardship in the North.”
U.S. officials are making contacts directly with defectors, bypassing the South Korean government, according to an activist, apparently to spare the South Korean government’s blushes as it accommodates North Korea at the Olympics.