February 21, 2018

Pence says USA wants peaceful solution to North Korea crisis

08 February 2018, 01:12 | Kara Nash

Journalists are seen next to Cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck's signboard while Japan's financial regulator conducts a spot inspection on C

Journalists are seen next to Cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck's signboard while Japan's financial regulator conducts a spot inspection on C

North Korea has no intention of meeting US officials during the Winter Olympics that start in South Korea on Friday, state media reported, dampening hopes the Games will help resolve a tense standoff over the North's nuclear weapons programme.

The White House also denied Pence's team offered an invitation to meet with Rippon.

In that interview, Rippon added he would prefer not meeting the vice president during the usual meet-and-greet session between the official delegation and the Olympic athletes, which takes place just before the Olympics opening ceremony.

The second was that Pence's office would never criticize Rippon but would correct him if he continued to say Pence supported gay conversion therapy.

"If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren't a friend of a gay person but that they think that they're sick", Rippon told the newspaper.

Adam Rippon of the United States trains during Figure Skating practice ahead of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Gangneung Ice Arena in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea, Feb. 7, 2018.

Alyssa Farah, a spokeswoman for Pence, provided the newspaper with a rebuttal to Rippon's remarks.

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"The vice president is proud to lead the US delegation to the Olympics and support America's incredible athletes", Farah said. "Despite these misinformed claims, the vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the US athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang".

He told USA Today last month that he was open to the possibility of meeting Pence, who he said seemed "more mild-mannered".

After reading Rippon's comments, Pence's staff asked the U.S. Olympic Committee to set up a conversation between the two men, according to two sources that spoke with USA Today Wednesday.

Pence reiterated the statement on Twitter later Wednesday, invoking the divisive and distracting "fake news" rhetoric popularized by his boss, President Donald Trump.

Vice President Mike Pence has arrived in South Korea, looking to push the US ally to adopt a more hawkish stance toward North Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics. Rippon also had a few choice words for Pence's support of Trump after the president made derogatory comments about foreigners and African countries. Kenworthy also took issue with the vice president leading the USA delegation, calling it a "strange choice in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres Monday".

Pence, an evangelical Christian, has nonetheless been accused of advocating against the LGBTQ community.

The vice president attracted the ire of some in the LGBTQ community by signing Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law as governor of in in 2015, which critics claimed encouraged discrimination against gay people.

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