- Ahn Young-joon/Reuters
- Ivanka Trump landed in South Korea on Friday.
- The South Korean president has greeted her in person.
- He also plans to accompany her to a skiing event at the Winter Olympics, local media reported earlier this week.
- The country has no diplomatic obligation to host her with such grandeur, but is “considering exceptional measures” to influence President Trump.
- They want to flatter Ivanka so she can persuade her father to visit North Korea.
Ivanka Trump has been in South Korea for a few hours, and is being received like a president.
The daughter of the US president arrived in Incheon on Friday afternoon to attend the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, which takes place on February 25. Her arrival was covered live on South Korean TV.
President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday: “We cannot have a better, or smarter, person representing our country.”
- Kim Min-Hee/Reuters
South Korean officials have so far rolled out the red carpet for Ivanka with a banquet at the president’s official residence in Seoul, the capital city.
In a speech before dinner, Ivanka pledged to “reaffirm our commitment to our maximum pressure campaign to ensure that the Korean Peninsula is denuclearised,” referring to US foreign policy on North Korea, according to The Washington Post’s Anna Fifield.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this week earlier this week expressed willingness to negotiate with North Korea, but vowed to maintain “maximum pressure” by way of internatioanl sanctions until Pyongyang reached out.
Guests at Friday’s presidential banquet were served a kosher meal of Korean food to “symbolise harmony,” Fifield tweeted.
Here’s what was on the menu:
– Lotus root and pear salad
– Jujube, or red date, porridge
– Grilled soft tofu for Ivanka, and kalbi – grilled ribs – for everyone else
– Bean sprout soup
– Frozen strawberry in “three different flavours”
– Dried persimmon and deep fried walnut
– Citrus tea
– Red wine from Napa Valley
– White wine from Chungbuk province, South Korea
The first daughter was also given red embroidered slippers upon entering the house, while White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders were given standard-issue slippers.
Ivanka Trump arrives for dinner at South Korea’s presidential Blue House tonight. Everyone had to take off their shoes (per custom) but the hosts had these red embroidered slippers ready for their guest of honor. pic.twitter.com/Wvu7QQXvqM
— Anna Fifield (@annafifield) February 23, 2018
South Korean officials also plan to have President Moon Jae In accompany Ivanka to watch a skiing competition and First Lady Kim Jung Sook show her around the country, South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo reported on Monday. Ivanka is a keen skier herself, and has hit the slopes at least twice since her father took office.
Officials reportedly also want to “lavish” her three children with presents.
The ultimate goal of this flattery is to lobby Ivanka’s father, Donald Trump, to visit North Korea on a diplomatic trip, The Chosun Ilbo quoted government officials as saying.
- South Korean Presidential Blue House via Getty
Although Seoul has no diplomatic obligation to host the president’s child on such a grand level, officials are “considering exceptional measures” because of Ivanka’s influence in the White House, an unnamed South Korean government official told The Chosun Ilbo.
By comparison, Vice President Mike Pence wasn’t given such a warm welcome when he arrived in South Korea to open the Winter Olympics two weeks ago.
The Chosun Ilbo said: “The government apparently wants to soften her up so [Donald] Trump agrees to a mooted visit to Pyongyang by President Moon Jae In.”
Seoul is rolling out the red carpet for Ivanka “on the assumption that she is to all intents and purposes the first lady of the US rather than Trump’s reluctant wife Melania,” The Chosun Ilbo added.
- KCNA/via REUTERS
South Korea has been actively pushing for peace on the Korean peninsula. Earlier this month President Moon met with Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and pledged to “creating the necessary conditions in the future” for him to visit the North.
Ivanka, however, has no plans to meet North Korean defectors or officials – including Kim Yo Jong, who has been dubbed “the Ivanka Trump of North Korea” – during her visit.