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O.C. congressman waylaid by budget, misses Olympics

The Buzz is the Register’s weekly political news column.
If House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce had a message for North Korea when he saw Kim Yo-jong at the Olympic Games, he didn’t get the chance to relay it.
The Yorba Linda Republican had been named to the White House’s seven-member delegation to the Games, led by Vice President Mike Pence. Others included Army Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. and U.N. forces on the peninsula, and Marc Knapper, interim Charge d’Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.
Kim, sister and envoy of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, was seated behind Pence at the Feb. 9 opening ceremonies. But Royce, the only Congress member named to the U.S. delegation, was still in Washington, voting for the budget bill to boost military spending and keep the government from shutting down.
“To my friends in South Korea, let me say congratulations on a great Olympic games,” Royce says in a short Twitter video posted the evening of the vote, offering a greeting in Korean.
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He also addressed U.S. athletes in two languages, encouraging them to “bring home the gold,” then thanking them in Korean.
Meanwhile at the opening ceremonies, Kim and Pence were sitting an arm’s length from one another but did not interact.
“I didn’t avoid the dictator’s sister, but I did ignore her,” Pence said in a video posted on Axios. “I didn’t believe it was proper for the USA to give her any attention in that forum.”
The White House said the decision not to talk was mutual between the two countries. Nonetheless, the apparent thaw between North and South that may be extending to the U.S.
With leaders of both Koreas making overtures about holding a summit, South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Tuesday said the U.S. had expressed a willingness to talk with North Korea — an apparent shift in the Trump Administration’s position.
“American officials were more guarded, saying they were open to talks but not a full-fledged negotiation,” according to The New York Times.
Royce, in his final year of Congress before retiring, has sounded open to talks but has expressed extreme caution.
“If the talks (between North and South) are going on during the Olympic Games in February, maybe that quiets the neighborhood there for a bit. But my main concern is that South Korea not give away anything such as resources or money to North Korea in any of these talks,” Royce told Fox News on Jan. 5. The following week, he told Fox News, “I am for increasing the sanctions and the pressure on them at this time… you have to have that sustained pressure that comes from sanctions and our diplomatic efforts.”
CSU Fullerton’s Center for Oral Public History will honor three of the county politicos from years past at its annual dinner celebrating the county’s political history. Honorees at the March gala will be former state Senate GOP Leader Dick Ackerman, former Democratic Foundation of Orange County Chairman Wylie Aitken and the late Tom Fuentes, longtime former chairman of the county GOP. Tickets for the event, to be held at Fullerton’s Summit House, start at $100. For more information, visit
Orange County Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley’s Election Academy, held every election year since 2010, will be on six successive Wednesday evenings beginning March 28. It covers every thing from candidate filing to ballot processing to voter outreach to security and tallying votes. The class is free and the deadline to apply is March 14. For more information, visit
The California Democratic Party will hold its statewide convention Feb. 23-25 in San Diego. Among the orders of business is considering endorsements for Democratic candidates in the districts of Congress members Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Beach; Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa; and Darrell Issa, R-Vista. For more information, visit
Source: Oc Register

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