The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is to attend Friday’s opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games, which are being held in the South, ministers in Seoul say.
Kim Yo-jong, a senior Workers’ Party official promoted to the politburo last year, will be the first immediate Kim family member to cross the border.
Both Koreas will march under one flag at the opening ceremony.
The North’s participation has been seen as a thawing of bilateral ties.North Korea crisis in 300 words
However, the US, Japan and others have accused the North of using the Games for propaganda purposes.
Who is Kim Yo-jong?
Believed to have been born in 1987, she is the youngest daughter of late leader Kim Jong-il and is Kim Jong-un’s full sister. She is about four years younger than her brother and is said to be very close to him.Kim Yo-jong has been in the spotlight sporadically in recent years, with her main job being to protect her brother’s image via her role in the party’s propaganda department.
She remains blacklisted by the US over alleged links to human rights abuses in North Korea.
This is a huge surprise. There had been speculation Kim Yo-jong might be part of the delegation but few thought it would actually happen. It is being seen as a sign that Kim Jong-un is serious about improving ties with South Korea.
Kim Yo-jong is one of Kim Jong-un’s closest aides and some are speculating that she might be bringing a message from her brother.
But there could be a number of obstacles to overcome if she is to make it to Pyeongchang. She is targeted by US sanctions for alleged human rights abuses, although she is not on the UN Security Council travel blacklist.
There is also the question of how she will get to the Games. Seoul has had to request special permission from the US and others in the international community to allow North Korean athletes and performers to travel south by bus and ferry. They may have to do so again and this time it will be for a member of Kim Jong-un’s own family.