- North Korea will reportedly send Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s youngest sister, to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
- Kim is a powerful member of North Korea’s ruling family, who sits on the Politburo and worked on propaganda to maintain her brother’s image.
- Vice President Mike Pence will also attend the games, and has said he’s willing to talk to North Korea’s delegation in what could be a significant moment.
North Korea will reportedly send Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s youngest sister, to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
South Korea said it is willing to accept Kim’s attendance, and will make proper accommodations for the 30-something-year-old’s visit, according to the Wall Street Journal. It will be the first time outsiders meet a member of Kim’s generation of Pyongyang’s ruling dynasty.
Kim is a powerful member of North Korea’s ruling family, serving as vice director of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea and sitting on the Politburo. Kim works on North Korean propaganda and helps maintain her brother’s image while handling the logistics of his travel, according to multiple reports.
Due to Kim’s involvement in the regime and its links to human rights abuses, Kim has been individually sanctioned by the US, and it could make preparations for the games a nightmare.
But South Korea’s Ministry of Unification indicated it would work with the North Koreans to get around travel restrictions and other red tape.
“We assessed that North Korea’s high-level delegation is meaningful, composed of figures related to the Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK) and the government and the circle of the sports to correspond to the purpose of the visit celebrating the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” the MOU said in a statement seen by NK News.
The US will send Vice President Mike Pence to the games, who has vowed to prevent North Korea from “hijacking” the games to serve their own propaganda purposes. Though no official plans have been made, Pence has expressed willingness to talk to North Korea’s delegation. If the two did talk, it would be the most high-level dialogue Kim Jong Un’s regime has ever participated in.
South Korea has already had to relax its sanctions on North Korea to allow a ship carrying an orchestra from Pyongyang to dock on its shores. Now South Korean officials are debating if they can even fuel the ship for the North Koreans.
But Kim’s delegation, which the Journal reports will host other high-ranking officials, 16 support staff, and three North Korean journalists, may push the sanctions regime to its limits.
In an effort to improve inter-Korean relations, South Korea has allowed increase access to North Koreans, but such a high-level delegation runs the risk of bumping up against an absolute ban on luxury goods to Pyongyang.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.