Vice President Mike Pence stood near Kim Yo Jong — sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un — at the Winter Olympic opening ceremonies on Friday. The two reportedly didn’t speak and Pence never looked at her. But Yo Jong was caught giving the vice president some serious side-eye.
During the opening ceremonies, Pence and his wife sat in South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s VIP box along with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the North Korean delegation. According to CNN, Pence didn’t talk to or look at Yo Jong or Kim Yong Nam, president of North Korea’s Supreme People’s Assembly.
But that didn’t stop Yo Jong from looking at Pence very boorishly.
Kim Jong Un's sister with deadly side-eye at Pence. pic.twitter.com/I0TTX1zI2L
— Philip Bump (@pbump) February 10, 2018
The visual of Pence together with Abe and Moon was very important, a U.S. official told CNN.
“We wanted to show the alliance seated together. We wanted the North Koreans to see the vice president, Abe and Moon sitting directly in front of them for the opening ceremonies, and it would show that that alliance is strong,” the official said.
“At any moment, he could have gotten up and left and sat somewhere else, and then you would have had the image of North sitting in the box with South Korea and Japan,” the official explained. “But he stayed there the entire time… and talked to Moon and Abe and their spouses, and the North Koreans sat in the back and didn’t talk to anybody, and that image is telling.”
Another photo of Pence laughing with Abe and Moon circulated online because it, too, captured Yo Jong’s side-eye.
Everybody suggesting that the North Korean delegation is interested in peace and joy at the Olympics — check out Kim's sister giving Pence and Co. some serious side-eye. pic.twitter.com/ftKLOUz5QE
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 9, 2018
The State Department said this week there were no arranged plans for Pence to meet with the North Koreans while at the Olympics. Pence stated that his plan was to bolster U.S., South Korean and Japanese relations while continuing to isolate the North Koreans. According to CNN, Pence remained committed to not meeting with the North Koreans on Friday, though U.S. officials said Pence would have responded kindly if the North Koreans approached him.