Feb 21, 2018
US Vice-President Mike Pence was due to meet North Korean officials at the Winter Olympics last week, US officials have said, but the North Koreans pulled out at the last moment.
Mr Pence was in South Korea for the opening of the Winter Olympics.
A spokesman said he was scheduled to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, among others.
It would have been the first official interaction between North Korea and the Trump administration.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said when the “possibility arose” of a brief meeting with the North Korean delegation, Mr Pence “was ready to take this opportunity to drive home the necessity of North Korea abandoning its illicit ballistic missile and nuclear programs”.
“At the last minute, DPRK [Democratic People’s Republic of Korea] officials decided not to go forward with the meeting. We regret their failure to seize this opportunity,” she said in a statement.
North Korea’s attendance at the Winter Olympics was seen as a major thaw in consistently tense relations on the Korean peninsula.
But there were also concerns that Pyongyang, which has been widely condemned for its repeated testing of nuclear weapons and conventional missiles, was using the event simply to improve its international image.