Arrival of Kim Jong-Un’s powerful sister for Olympics sets off speculations in Seoul

by WorldTribune Staff, February 7, 2018

Kim Yo-Jong, the sister and a top confidant of Kim Jong-Un, will represent North Korea’s ruling dynasty as she visits South Korea this week for the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, a report said.

Kim Yo-Jong. / KCNA via Getty Images

The Unification Ministry in Seoul announced on Feb. 7 that Kim Yo-Jong, who is believed to be about 30-years-old, will be part of a high-ranking North Korean government delegation attending the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Games on Feb. 9.

“Kim’s visit could further boost the reconciliatory mood between the Koreas,” Yonhap said in a Feb. 7 report. “Seoul wants to pave the way for the restoration of relations and possibly to talks for the denuclearization of the North.”

Yonhap added that “Kim Yo-Jong is widely believed to be powerful and close enough to the leader to directly represent his views.”

Kim Yo-Jong is the only sibling of Kim Jong-Un who is part of the North Korean leadership.

Kim Jong-Chol, the leader’s older brother, faded from the public eye after Kim Jong-Un’s ascension to power. Kim Jong-Nam, the leader’s half brother, was assassinated last year by apparent North Korean agents at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia.

The profile of Kim Yo-Jong has been elevated since 2014 when she was appointed vice-director of the party’s propaganda and agitation department, according to an October 2017 report by Geostrategy-Direct.

Related: Bloodline: Kim Jong-Un’s sister minds her brother’s image and gains power, October 10, 2017

In that role, she is presumed to have been instrumental in presenting her brother as a benevolent, accessible leader modeled on his grandfather, North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-Sung.

Michael Madden, a North Korea analyst at Johns Hopkins University’s 38 North website, said: “It shows that her portfolio and writ is far more substantive than previously believed and it is a further consolidation by the Kim family’s power.”

Kim Yo-Jong “has frequently been seen standing close to her brother at major state events, an indication of her closeness with him and the regime. The Unification Ministry currently presumes that she is also serving as deputy chief of the all-important ruling party propaganda and agitation department,” the Yonhap report said.

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