Shinzo Abe to Attend PyeongChang Olympics

(ATR) Amid frosty diplomatic relations, Shinzo Abe says he will travel to South Korea for the Olympics.

HANGZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 04: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan arrives at the Hangzhou Exhibition Center to participate in G20 Summit, on September 4, 2016 in Hangzhou, China. World leaders are gathering in Hangzhou for the 11th G20 Leaders Summit from September 4 to 5. (Photo by Etienne Oliveau/Getty Images)
HANGZHOU, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 04: Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan arrives at the Hangzhou Exhibition Center to participate in G20 Summit, on September 4, 2016 in Hangzhou, China. World leaders are gathering in Hangzhou for the 11th G20 Leaders Summit from September 4 to 5. (Photo by Etienne Oliveau/Getty Images)

(ATR) Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will attend the opening of the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, even as relations between Japan and South Korea remain frosty.

Abe had reportedly said he would not attend the Games after South Korean President Jae In Moon reopened discussions related to a deal made to settle the comfort women issue.

Under the previous South Korean administration Abe’s government agreed to pay damages to the surviving women who were forcibly conscripted by the Japanese army in World War II and served as sex slaves. When signed the agreement was deemed "final and irreversible".

Moon raised the issue earlier this year saying the bilateral agreement was flawed. According to reports from Kyodo News, Abe will "clearly state Japan's stance" to President Moon during the visit. Abe is expected to raise the issue of a statue of the comfort women outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul.

Abe addressed the Japanese parliament saying he would use the Olympics trip to reiterate support for the ongoing international pressure campaign against North Korea.

"I will tell [Moon] in person we should not deviate from the policy to maximize pressure on North Korea," Abe was quoted as saying by Kyodo.

Abe’s attendance was part of a major foreign policy point for Moon. In a call earlier this month Moon asked Chinese President Xi Jinping to attend the Games. If Xi does attend, Moon will have successfully brought the heads of state for the next two Games and regional players with regard to North Korea to the PyeongChang Olympics.

During the trip Abe said he will work to meet with United States Vice President Mike Pence to discuss the current situation with North Korea.

An official close to Pence recently spoke with journalists on his trip back from the Middle East about the Vice President’s plans in Korea. Outside of diplomatic talks with Korean counterparts, the official said Pence wants to counter North Korean propaganda around the Games.

"He has grave concerns that Kim will hijack the messaging around the Olympics," the official was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. "The North Koreans have been master manipulators in the past.

"[Pence will speak] truth on the world stage, which is the opposite of what the North Koreans do."'

Written by Aaron Bauer

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