Vice President Mike Pence plans to attend the 2018 Winter Olympics, which start this week in South Korea. But his goal isn't just to see the games and watch the athletes compete.
Pence will arrive with Fred Warmbier by his side. He is the father of Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old who died after 15 months of imprisonment inside North Korea.
Warmbier's attendance signals the Trump administration's plans to move away from the military rhetoric and focus on North Korea's human rights atrocities.
"There could not be a more powerful statement, considering what the Warmbier family has gone through during the last 18 months to 2 years," Harry Kazianis with the Center for the National Interest told CBN News.
He adds, "I think this is a powerful statement that the Trump administration is trying to show that not only does North Korea have nuclear weapons that can kill millions of people, but the human rights violations that this regime has committed are on par perhaps with Nazi Germany."
A White House official told reporters that during the games, Pence will "make clear that the maximum pressure on the Kim regime will only intensify," adding that the vice president "will not allow the North Korean regime to highjack messaging of Olympics with propaganda."
On Sunday, North Korean International Olympic Committee member Chang Ung arrived in South Korea ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Ung said he hopes "everything goes well" for the Olympics and relations between the two Koreas.
The North and South agreed to march under a unified flag during the opening ceremony. Pentagon top brass say that while they are encouraged by the dialogue between the two nations and want it to continue, it has no effect on United States and South Korea relations.
"The relationship between Seoul and Washington has never been closer. So, we look forward to more progress," said Chief Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White.
She adds, "We are very capable of countering any threat to the United States, its allies and its partners."
But amid the renewed relations between the two Koreas during the games, North Korea still plans to send a message to America ahead of the ceremonies.
Pentagon sources tell CBN News it appears North Korea is planning to show off dozens of long-range missiles at a parade this Thursday, the day before the Winter Olympics are set to begin.
"Really it shows what North Korea's intent is," Kazianis said. 'They have no intent with having a détente with South Korea or talking with the United States."
When the Olympic flame dies out, many say North Korea will continue their games and continue to test their ICBMs.
Reprinted with permission from CBN.com. Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network, all rights reserved.
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