Vice President Mike Pence is being mocked in North Korean media for his refusal to interact with the North Korean delegation at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
A commentary piece published in the official newspaper of North Korea’s ruling party, Rodong Sinmun, said Pence “didn’t dare look at our high-level delegation.”
“How could he possibly face our cheerful delegation?” the piece from an individual contributor added, according to South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.
During the opening ceremony earlier this month, Pence and his wife, Karen, 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.
The odd optics of the awkward seating arrangement was widely noted on social media.
Can someone say awkward? This is how close U.S. Vice President Mike Pence was to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong. Just one row and four seats separating them. pic.twitter.com/BvQLnFoYcf
— Will Ripley (@willripleyCNN) February 9, 2018
Mike Pence vs. Kim Jong Un’s sister is basically amazing. pic.twitter.com/aMrwYScNz8
— Mike Rundle (@flyosity) February 10, 2018
Pence briefly appeared at a reception hosted by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, but skipped the dinner where he was slated to share a table with Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s ceremonial head of state. He went to a dinner event with U.S. athletes instead.
U.S. officials told CNN that Pence did not deliberately snub North Korean officials at that event.