Mike Pence & Kim Jong-Un's Sister Ignored Each Other at the Olympic Opening Ceremony & Twitter Had Things to Say | Spanlish

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Sunday, February 11, 2018

Mike Pence & Kim Jong-Un's Sister Ignored Each Other at the Olympic Opening Ceremony & Twitter Had Things to Say

Attending the 2018 Winter Olympics as the official representative of the United States, Vice President Mike Pence did not acknowledge North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister at Friday night's opening ceremony, despite sitting close to each other. TIME reports that Pence and his wife Karen were seated in front of 30-year-old Kim Yo Jong, whose ceremony attendance made her the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South since 1953. The tension was palpable between the two representatives, causing a stir among Twitter commentators. 

Although Kim Yo Jong previously made headlines for inviting South Korean president Moon Jae-in to visit her home country, American viewers took the most notice of the awkward vibes Pence and Kim Yo Jong gave off at the opening ceremony. Before the ceremony, Pence first declined an invitation to go to a dinner attended by Kim Yong-nam, who is North Korea's ceremonial head of state.

Later on, Kim Yo Jong launched the face of a thousand memes when her blank expression was seen as Pence applauded ceremony procedures in front of her. 

Although Kim Yo Jong reportedly stood when Team USA entered Olympic Stadium during the Parade of Nations, Pence and his wife remained seated when North and South Korean athletes arrived under one unified flag. Given that this was the first time Korea entered the Olympics as a single nation since the 2006 Turin Games, many didn't take his snub lightly. 

The Associated Press reports that Pence has previously described North Korea's decision to join South Korea in the Parade as trying to "hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games" with "propaganda." The U.S. administration has warned South Korea to tread carefully in this partnership with the North, and anyone keeping up on the news knows that President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un haven't been getting along recently. While the White House stressed that Vice President Pence only stood and cheered for the United States at the opening ceremony, experts on Asian culture tell the Associated Press that failing to stand for Korea could be interpreted as disrespecting the host nation. 

Those defending Pence's actions have pointed out that him choosing to stand could have been wrongly taken as support of North Korea's poor record of human rights. 

We'll have to wait and see if Pence has any more awkward encounters with North Korean officials over the course of the games. The Olympics continue airing in primetime on NBC until Sunday, Feb. 25. 

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