Pence avoids shaking hands with N. Korea's nominal head of state

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-02-10 00:24 Updated : 2018-02-13 15:48
글씨작게 글씨크게

[Yonhap News Photo]

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Aju News) -- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence turned his face away from North Korea's ceremonial leader Kim Young-nam Friday at a reception dinner hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in ahead of the Olympic opening ceremony.

The Olympic reception in a hotel in the eastern ski resort of Pyeongchang was attended by about 200 people including Kim and other global leaders such as International Olympic Committee (IOC) head Thomas Bach.

Pence, who arrived late, exchanged greetings with foreign guests sitting at the head table but he left after a brief stay without talking or shaking hands with Kim, according to pool reports. Moon's office defended the U.S. vice president, insisting he was to attend a separate dinner with American athletes after taking a picture.

At the opening ceremony later, Pence and his wife sat right next to Moon and his wife while Kim Yong-nam and Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North's leader, sitting just behind the Moon couple on the VIP podium of the Olympic stadium.

The two Kims shook hands and chatted with Moon but there was no conversation between Pence and the North Korean visitors who would visit Moon's office on Saturday.