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Twenty-six foreign leaders to visit S. Korea during PyeongChang Olympics

All Headlines 11:48 January 29, 2018

SEOUL, Jan. 29 (Yonhap) -- A total of 26 leader-level officials from 21 countries, including Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, will visit South Korea for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae said Monday.

President Moon Jae-in plans to host a reception for the foreign dignitaries on the opening day of the Olympics, and hold separate one-on-one meetings with 14 of them, Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director of the presidential National Security Office, said during a briefing.

"We expect a total of 2,943 athletes from 92 countries, and this is the largest-ever in Winter Olympic history," Nam said. "Twenty-six foreign guests from 21 countries will also be visiting South Korea, and 16 of them will attend the opening ceremony to celebrate the opening of the PyeongChang Olympics."

The leader-level foreign dignitaries include U.S. Vice President Mike Pence; Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe; Han Zheng, a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China; German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier; Slovenian President Borut Pahor; U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg; Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte; Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia; Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila; Governor General of Canada Julie Payette; Swiss President Alain Berset; Polish President Andrzej Duda; and Slovakian President Andrej Kiska.

They also include Liechtenstein's Prime Minister Adrian Hasler; Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite; Estonian President Kersti Kaljulaid; Latvian President Raimonds Vejonis; Grand Duke of Luxembourg Henri; Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik; and Monaco's Prince Albert II.

China's Han is visiting as special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping and the presidents of Germany and Slovenia, as well as the U.N. secretary-general, will make official visits, Nam said.

Nam said he hopes Russia will be able to send high-level officials after resolving pending issues with the International Olympic Committee.

Nam Gwan-pyo, a deputy director of the presidential National Security Office, speaks during a press briefing on Jan. 29. (Yonhap)

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