WASHINGTON – Pyongyang canceled “at the last minute” a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence scheduled to be held during the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, the United States said on Tuesday.
“At the last minute, DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) officials decided not to go forward with the meeting. We regret their failure to seize this opportunity,” US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement.
Nauert’s statement came after The Washington Post published an exclusive about Pyongyang canceling the meeting with Pence.
According to The Post, Pence was scheduled to meet on Feb. 10, with Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and the honorary president of North Korea, Kim Yong-nam.
The two visited South Korea and led the North Korean delegation at the PyeongChang Olympic Games.
Just before he visited South Korea for the Games, Pence said the US was planning to unveil the “toughest and most aggressive” sanctions against Pyongyang.
“The vice president was ready to take this opportunity to drive home the necessity of North Korea abandoning its illicit ballistic missile and nuclear programs,” Nauert said.
“We will not allow North Korean propaganda to hijack the message and imagery of the Olympic Games,” the spokesperson added.