Ivanka in Seoul: A Diplomatic or Pleasure Visit?

While the rest of us are at home watching the details roll out about Nikolas Cruz, the shooter in the tragedy in Parkland, FL, and the Mueller investigation’s flipping of Rick Gates, Ivanka Trump was dispatched to South Korea on behalf of the White House for the Olympic closing ceremonies. According to the White House, her visit is due to her love for winter sports. Or is it?
Ivanka Trump has met with multiple high-level officials of the South Korean government, including President Moon Jae-in. Rumors have also emerged that she could also meet with North Korean officials while in country.
This is worrying for three reasons:
1) Currently there is no US Ambassador to Korea, which puts Ivanka as the de facto representative for the US during a moment that’s precipitously close to all out war with the North Koreans. Ambassadors are generally deeply read in on key and sensitive issues in the country, and act as a steady influence of diplomatic engagement with the host nation. Going without an Ambassador is a risky proposition for relations in such a critical nation. Allowing an un-elected figurehead with no high-level knowledge or read in on the security situation due to security clearance restrictions to potentially engage with the North Koreans is even more risky, if not downright negligent.
2) When VP Pence was in South Korea, he was snubbed by North Korean envoys. What does it say that our VP, an elected official with a full clearance and actual legitimately earned role within the admin was unable to bring anything to a better level with the North Koreans? Putting Ivanka into the diplomatic fray days after the White House announces aggressive additional sanctions on the North Korean regime puts her potential meeting with the North Korean delegation on the back foot from the start, something a non-diplomatic person will have a strong learning curve which could have dire consequences for the US. A potential second snub against high-level figures and officials only boost North Korea’s propaganda.
3) Ivanka, like Jared Kushner, is being handed the reigns of a diplomatic hot spot. There is no doubt that North Korea is the most contentious, explosive, and consequential such hot spot in the world. For the White House to even entertain the idea that Ivanka Trump may enter into official, or even unofficial, negotiations without a full security clearance, and without any real position of merit in the White House is abhorrently negligent and damaging to American interests.
The Trump Administration has played with (nuclear) fire many times already in his first year in office when it comes to the North Korean regime. Sending his daughter to act on behalf of the American people and having yet to appoint an Ambassador to serve in North Korea only serves to raise fears that the rising specter of war with North Korea will become reality.

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