The 2018 Winter Olympics have been a prime case for sports diplomacy, with North and South Korea making heavy diplomatic progress. Vice President Mike Pence is in South Korea trying to reassure reporters that this progress is illusory.
“There is no daylight between the United States, the Republic of Korea, and Japan,” Pence insisted, saying the three nations are unified on the need to continue worsening North Korea’s isolation.
That’s a position US officials regularly take, but with South Korea’s leadership openly talking with North Korea, and trying to arrange direct talks with the US and North Korea, there clearly is substantial daylight there, and it’s growing.
It was clear from before his departure that Pence’s role at the Olympics would be trying to undercut diplomacy. Officials may have thought this would be easier to accomplish, but in practice Pence has mostly spent his time visibly avoiding handshakes, and dismissing all the real happenings to reporters.