Angelina Jolie and son Maddox arrive for the state dinner at the White House in Washington on Wednesday. AFP
A source close to Jolie said: "Asia-America relations are important to Angelina's family. She and the children have had close ties to the region, including South Korea, for many years. Maddox studied at Yonsei University in Seoul.
Angelina has visited South Korea many times for her humanitarian and refugee advocacy over the past two decades, and as an artist. Angelina and Maddox are honoured to attend this State Dinner."
Yoon Suk Yeol (2nd L) and his wife Kim Keon Hee (L) pose with Joe Biden and Jill Biden ahead of the State Dinner at the White House. AFP
Jolie wore a vintage Chanel jacket and a dress that was made for her many years ago, as well as her personal jewellery, the source said, reports people.com.
Other famous names in attendance at the dinner included Chip and Joanna Gaines and Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim.
Antony Blinken arrives with his wife Evan Ryan for the official State Dinner. Reuters
Broadway's Lea Salonga, one of the night's entertainers, confessed as she arrived that she was "freaking out” over the whole experience, allowing, "It feels like being in the middle of a fairy tale.” Kim, for her part, served up a classic understatement as she strolled in, telling reporters, ”I heard the food’s going to be very good.”
Jolie wasn't inclined to chat as she arrived in a vintage Chanel jacket and a flowing cream gown, but her date, 21-year-old son Maddox, at least offered that his favorite thing about Seoul was "the people.”
Jessica Vosk and Lea Salonga perform for Joe Biden and Yoon Suk Yeol in the State Dining Room. AP
A smattering of politicians made the guest list, too, and most were determinedly on message, talking a lot of shop. Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., held forth on infrastructure, debt reduction and the budget. Rep. Judy Chu, D-Calif., talked abortion rights. Former Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, a big Democratic donor from Illinois, talked up plans for the Democratic convention in Chicago in 2024, promising, "of course” it will go well.
Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii, proudly showed off her traditional hanbok gown, saying it was important to showcase cultural diversity. She added that the big challenge was "not to trip over it.”
Angelina Jolie and Maddox Jolie-Pitt arrive for the State Dinner at the White House. AP
Also among the nearly 200 guests were Arthur Blank, a co-founder of Home Depot; "Pachinko” author Min Jin Lee; and former Major League Baseball pitcher Chan Ho Park. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah also attended, as did the governors of Delaware, New Jersey and Vermont.
On a perfect spring evening, guests entered the White House by strolling through the Jacqueline Kennedy garden in the East Wing and being directed to a cocktail reception before dinner in the East Room, where tables were topped with towering centerpieces of cherry tree boughs in full bloom. On the menu: crabcakes, beef ribs and banana splits.
Arthur Blank and Jennifer Hale arrive for the State Dinner. AP
Jolie last visited Seoul in 2019, when Maddox started at Yonsei University, and in 2018, when she met refugees on behalf of the UN Refugee Agency. The book she co-authored on youth rights with Amnesty International, Know Your Rights and Claim Them, was published in South Korea last year.
A White House press release last month stated the visit from the South Korean leader and his wife "celebrates the 70th anniversary of the US-ROK alliance, which is critical to advancing peace, stability and prosperity for our two countries, the Indo-Pacific and around the world."
Indo-Asian News Service
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