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2 Trump children in Asia; 2 approaches to the world

Last Updated Feb 23, 2018 at 9:00 am EDT

In this combination of photos; left, on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018, Donald Trump Jr. gives a thumbs-up as he arrives for a meeting in New Delhi, India, and right, Friday, Feb. 23, 2018, Ivanka Trump arrives in Seoul, Korea, for the closing ceremony for the Winter Olympics. As President Donald Trump grapples with politics back home, two of his children are on high-profile missions in Asia, capturing his family's dueling interests. (AP Photo)

Ivanka Trump’s appearance at this weekend’s closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang Olympics on behalf of the White House and the United States is a softer bookend to Vice-President Mike Pence’s awkward visit during the opening ceremony. Ivanka Trump has some popularity in Asia, and the perception of her as a smoother player in her father’s administration — and, not inconsequentially, a younger one as well — allows the United States a photogenic representative at a games dominated by unusually adept PR moves from North Korea. The big question is this: After seeing some final events and glad-handing some American athletes, will she be placed in the same position as Pence — in a VIP box with a North Korean delegation? And if so, how will she respond and will she, unlike Pence, choose to interact? The answer could provide a coda to an extraordinary two weeks of Olympic political optics — and offer hints of the Trump administration’s approach in coming weeks when it comes to the thawing of North-South relations on the Korean Peninsula.

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Donald Trump Jr. isn’t shy to say it: He’s in India to sell. He says it’s “nonsense” that some people say he’s using his father’s job as the leader of the most powerful nation to sell apartments in high-end Trump brand buildings. He got an enthusiastic welcome in a country where flashy wealth and important last names both carry enormous weight. His business partners announced his visit with glossy, front-page ads in leading newspapers. And on Monday, one day before he arrived, they parlayed his name into $15 million worth of sales. India is a huge market for the Trump Organization, which he is running with his brother during their father’s presidency. It has more projects in India than any other country outside of the United States. Trump Jr. also says the presidency has actually cost the family “quite a bit of money in terms of lost opportunity,” because the Trump Organization isn’t signing new overseas deals while his father is in office to avoid potential ethical conflicts.