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"The vice president will be there with Mr. Warmbier at the opening remind the world of the atrocities that happen in North Korea", a White House official said on Monday.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, earlier in Peru, had used similar language when asked if Pence might encounter North Koreans at the sporting event.

The trip comes after President Donald Trump hosted a group of North Korean defectors in the Oval Office on Friday, including Ji Seong-ho, whom the president referenced in his State of the Union address last week.

The spokeswoman, Katina Adams, quoted Moon as saying that improvement of relations between North and South Korea could not advance separately from resolving this crisis over North Korea's development of nuclear weapons.

Kim Yong-Nam will be the highest-level Northern official to visit the South since 2014.

"We're traveling to the Olympics to make sure that North Korea doesn't use the powerful symbolism and the backdrop of the Winter Olympics to paper over the truth about their regime, a regime that oppresses its own people", Pence said.

During Pence's visit, Washington wants to keep the focus on the North's disregard for calls to halt its nuclear program and convince allies to keep pressuring Pyongyang, officials said. The top diplomat responded: "I think we'll just see".

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in the Japanese capital where he'll engage in talks Wednesday with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that are expected to focus on the threat from North Korea.

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Because of North Korea's participation in the games with South Korea, more seats will be filled by Koreans and they will have more of an interest in going.

Pence will be back at the base Thursday to talk to troops and their families before heading to South Korea to meet President Moon Jae-in and lead the USA delegation during Friday's opening ceremonies of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.

When she is in South Korea, the first daughter is also expected to attend some of the sporting events that USA athletes are competing in.

As for Pence's delegation, the father of late USA student Otto Warmbier's father, Fred Warmbier, will be accompanying the vice president to the Olympic Games opening ceremony.

"North Korea would always provoke South Korea and would say things like, 'If you don't do A then outcome B will happen, '" Shim said.

That set off a rapid series of meetings which saw the two agree to march together at the opening ceremony and form a unified women's ice hockey team, their first for 27 years.

This will be her first time visiting South Korea since her father's inauguration a year ago.

He is not blacklisted by the United Nations or the United States because he is not involved in the North's illicit nuclear and missile programmes.