You are here
Ivanka Trump - an envoy who can rival 'North Korea's Ivanka'
[WASHINGTON] When the sister of Kim Jong-un made her historic visit to the Winter Olympics in South Korea two weeks ago, saying nothing but commanding noisy press coverage, the South Korean news media quickly called her "North Korea's Ivanka". Now, US President Donald Trump is sending the real Ivanka.
The question is whether Ivanka Trump, with her fashion industry glamour, can counter the news media narrative set by a mysterious North Korean woman, Kim Yo-jong, whose title back home is director of her totalitarian government's propaganda and agitation department.
White House officials recoil at any parallel between the dictator's sister and the president's daughter. But the comparison is obvious, if invidious, given their family pedigrees.
And Ms Trump may benefit by another comparison: to vice-president Mike Pence, who sat near Ms Kim during the opening ceremony of the Olympics and seemed unable to strike the same chord as she did with South Koreans. He later missed out on a meeting with North Korean officials after they cancelled at the last minute.
Administration officials acknowledge that Ms Trump, who will arrive in South Korea on Friday to watch the closing ceremony of the games, could smooth some of the tensions that flared during the vice-president's visit, even if they insist that is not the purpose of her trip.
While Mr Pence met North Korean defectors and condemned Mr Kim for human rights abuses, officials said Ms Trump would keep her focus on reaffirming the bonds between the United States and South Korea and cheering on US athletes.
Ms Trump, 36, is scheduled to have dinner on Friday evening with South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, who tried desperately to broker a meeting between Mr Pence and the North Korean delegation. There are no plans for Ms Trump to meet with anyone from North Korea during her three-day visit, although an official declined to rule out the possibility.