Vice President Mike Pence will lead the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, next month on a trip that will include stops in Alaska and Japan.
Pence is set to review intercontinental ballistic missile defense systems in Alaska ahead of his trip to South Korea for the games, an administration official told the Washington Examiner. His presence at the Olympics is intended to "send a clear signal to the North Korean regime," the official said.
Pence is also expected to reassure Japanese and South Korean leaders of the U.S. commitment to their defense amid the war of words between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Tensions between Washington and Pyongyang have climbed to new heights ahead of the Winter Olympics, stoking fears that North Korea could seek to provoke the U.S. by testing another ballistic missile in close proximity to the games.
North and South Korean leaders have begun rare talks ahead of the event next month as athletes and spectators from around the world prepare to head to the volatile region.
In addition to attending the Olympics and stopping in Alaska and Japan, Pence is also expected to visit American military stationed in the area.
Pence has already traveled to South Korea since taking office last year. In April, the vice president visited the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea as part of a tour through Southeast Asia that paved the way for Trump's own journey to the region later in the year.