Kim Jong Un's sister joins North Korean Winter Olympics delegation

Kim Jong Un is sending his younger sister to South Korea for the Winter Olympics, the first time any member of the Ki...

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 2:46 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2018 2:46 PM

Kim Jong Un is sending his younger sister to South Korea for the Winter Olympics, the first time any member of the Kim dynasty has visited the country.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said in a statement that Kim Yo Jong will be joining North Korea's high-level delegation to the South, headed by Kim Yong Nam, president of North Korea's parliament.

The 30-year-old, who has seen her profile rise steadily since 2014, was last year promoted to North Korea's Politburo. She and Kim Jong Un were born to the same mother, Ko Yong Hui.

Kim Yo Jong's inclusion in the North Korean delegation is likely to irritate the United States, which has sent its own delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence to counter North Korea's charm offensive.

Last year, the US Treasury Department included Kim Yo Jong on its list of blacklisted officials. As the vice director of the Workers' Party Propaganda and Agitation Department, she has been targeted by US sanctions.

On a refueling stop on his way to Asia, Pence said the aim of his trip was to show American "resolve" in rallying the international community against the Kim regime.

"We're traveling to the Olympics to make sure that North Korea doesn't use the powerful symbolism and the backdrop of the Winter Olympics to paper over the truth about their regime," Pence said.

But South Korea welcomed the announcement, saying it was "significant that Kim had included his sister in the delegation.

"We believe that the North's announcement of the delegation shows its willingness to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula along with a message of celebration for the PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games," it said in a statement. "It is significant that the delegation also includes Kim Yo Jong, who is Chairman Kim Jong Un's sister and holds an important position in the Workers' Party of Korea."

Shadowy figure

Like most members of the Kim clan, little is known about Kim Yo Jong beyond her official rank. According to NK Leadership Watch, she is a close aide of her brother's "and since his accession manages his public events, itineraries and logistical needs, among other tasks."

She was promoted to the country's Politburo as an alternate member in October.

Born September 26, 1987, Kim Yo Jong studied in Switzerland like her brother and is believed to have attended Kim Il Sung University and a western European school for her higher education.

Her position is such that, according to a Seoul-based think tank run by North Korean defectors, Kim Yo Jong briefly took charge of the country while her brother was reportedly ill with gout or diabetes in late 2014.

Hopes for a breakthrough

Kim's presence, alongside Kim Yong Nam (no relation), the 90-year-old ceremonial head of state in North Korea, will raise hopes for a potential breakthrough in relations with the US.

This week, Pence suggested he would be open to meeting North Korean politicians on the sidelines of the Olympics, saying President Donald Trump "always believes in talking."

"North Korea can have a better future than the militaristic path, the path of provocation and confrontation that it's on. Better for its own people, better for the region, and better for peace," Pence said.

However on Wednesday he also warned the US was about to impose the "toughest and most aggressive round of economic sanctions on North Korea ever."

"We will continue to isolate North Korea until it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile programs once and for all," he said.

The Vice President's delegation includes the father of the late Otto Warmbier, an American student who died shortly after being released from North Korean custody.

Fred Warmbier and his wife Cindy were in the audience during US President Donald Trump's State of the Union address last month.

They looked on tearfully as the President cited their son's treatment as a example of the "menace that threatens our world."

The US delegation will be joined by the President's daughter and senior advisor Ivanka Trump, who will attend the closing ceremony on February 25, a White House official said Monday.

Hundreds of North Koreans have arrived in South Korea ahead of the Opening Ceremony on Friday.

Though only 22 athletes will compete in events, the North's delegation will be among the largest at the Games.

It includes an 114-strong art troupe and 96-crew who arrived at South Korea's Mukho port on Wednesday aboard the Mangyongbong 92 cargo-passenger ferry.

Kim's delegation includes Hyon Song Wol, the lead singer of Kim Jong Un's favorite girl band, whose every move was followed by a insatiable South Korean press during a pre-Games tour last month.

Hyon's the closest thing North Korea has to a celebrity and her presence in Pyeongchang is an indication of how seriously North Korea is taking its Olympic diplomatic mission.

Kim Jong Un's Olympic plans also include a massive military parade on Thursday through the streets of the North Korean capital Pyongyang. The display would be an attempt "to scare the hell out of the Americans," a diplomatic source told CNN last month.

West Lafayette
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 51°
Kokomo
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 44°
Rensselaer
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 46°
Fowler
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 46°
Williamsport
Overcast
49° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 46°
Crawfordsville
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Frankfort
Overcast
52° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 52°
Delphi
Overcast
51° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 51°
Monticello
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Logansport
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 49° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 44°
Dry and Cool for Remainder of Weekend.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 160454

Reported Deaths: 4118
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25691791
Lake14023358
St. Joseph9399165
Elkhart9026137
Allen8424230
Hamilton6293114
Vanderburgh601161
Tippecanoe383615
Hendricks3337133
Porter332350
Monroe330338
Johnson3207129
Delaware303474
Clark300763
Vigo268740
Madison244996
LaPorte231760
Cass226922
Warrick199565
Kosciusko193727
Floyd183968
Howard167066
Bartholomew145358
Dubois142726
Marshall142726
Wayne135331
Grant129739
Henry129730
Boone126950
Hancock122344
Noble119135
Jackson116417
Dearborn100028
Morgan97440
Lawrence94037
Gibson91512
Daviess90234
Clinton88916
Shelby87231
LaGrange82115
Knox79510
Harrison78324
Putnam75616
Posey7556
DeKalb74511
Fayette73218
Jasper6435
Miami6425
Steuben6408
Montgomery60422
White59915
Greene55838
Scott53413
Decatur51739
Adams5107
Whitley4696
Ripley4668
Clay4567
Sullivan45214
Wells44211
Starke4328
Wabash4329
Huntington4215
Orange41725
Spencer4046
Washington3843
Franklin37925
Jennings37313
Randolph37210
Fulton3714
Jefferson3455
Pike34018
Perry33314
Carroll33213
Jay3256
Fountain3193
Tipton28023
Vermillion2601
Parke2464
Blackford2313
Newton23011
Rush2254
Owen2101
Martin2010
Crawford1601
Pulaski1602
Brown1463
Ohio1317
Union1120
Benton1090
Switzerland960
Warren891
Unassigned0236

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events