Vice President Mike Pence did not attend an Olympic dinner where he was slated to share a table with Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state, according to reports.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in hosted an event ahead of the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea, but Pence left the reception within minutes of arriving, South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported, citing pool reports. Pence did not face nor shake hands with Kim.
Pence had been set to sit at the same table as Kim, BBC said.
Yonhap added that Moon's chief press secretary explained later that Pence had a previously scheduled dinner engagement with U.S. athletes and that his early departure from the reception had nothing to do with North Korea.
Pence and his wife Karen also did not stand to recognize the united Korean Olympic delegation at the opening ceremony. The Pences were the only individuals in the VIP press box not to do so, according to CBS.
During the opening ceremony on Friday, the Pences were seated in front of the North Korean delegation, including North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong. However, the Pences did not interact with the group.
An incredible honor for Karen and me to lead the U.S. Delegation at the @Pyeongchang2018 Winter Olympic Games. The Opening Ceremony was extraordinary, and we wish ALL THE BEST for our @TeamUSA athletes. #TeamUSA #VPinAsia pic.twitter.com/1W2f5djir9— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 10, 2018
Pence stood for the American team as they marched into the stadium to the song “Gangnam Style,” but did not stand during other festivities.