NHK reported this morning on the White House announcement on Wednesday that Vice President Pence will lead the U.S. delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and attend the opening ceremony on Feb. 9. The network said the Vice President will also visit Japan. According to the network, the White House released a statement saying: “The Vice President is traveling to the Olympic Games in South Korea to reinforce the strong U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula and send a clear message of American resolve to the North Korean regime….The Vice President will reaffirm to the leaders of Japan and South Korea the United States’ unwavering commitment to our allies….” The network speculated that the Vice President’s visit is aimed at keeping North Korea in check during the Winter Olympics and reaffirming trilateral unity between the U.S., Japan, and South Korea.
Fuji TV said that according to sources, Vice President Pence is expected to visit Japan on Feb. 6 and meet with PM Abe on Feb. 7. The network added that arrangement is also underway for the Vice President to meet with Deputy PM Aso.
NHK reported that Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga told the press this morning: “I welcome the visit. It will be a very good opportunity to demonstrate at home and abroad the solid U.S.-Japan alliance. It would be a perfect opportunity to exchange views on North Korea and coordinate policies.”