Speed Reads

2018 Pyeongchang Olympics

Mike Pence will lead the U.S. Olympic delegation to 'send a clear signal to the North Korean regime'

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen will lead the U.S. delegation at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the White House announced Wednesday. The decision comes as North and South Korea have defused tensions in recent days, with Pyongyang agreeing to participate in the Winter Games and the two nations reopening their military hotline.

U.S. delegations to the Olympics typically attend the Opening Ceremony, meet with athletes, and participate in events in the host city. Pence's attendance is additionally intended to "reinforce the strong U.S. presence on the Korean Peninsula and send a clear signal to the North Korean regime," a White House official told CBS News.

Janet Napolitano, the former homeland security secretary, led the last U.S. delegation at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia — the first Olympics since 2000 that a U.S. president, first lady, or vice president was not a member of the delegation, USA Today notes. John Kerry, then secretary of state, led the delegation at the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro.