South Korean President to Meet Sister of North Korean Dictator
The president of South Korea will meet with the sister of reclusive dictator Kim Jong Un prior to North Korean athletes participating in the Winter Olympic Games in South Korea.
President Moon Jae-in will receive a group of delegates from the communist north at an undisclosed location this week, his office said.
The meeting on Saturday, Feb. 10, will include lunch, the president’s office told Yonhap. It will take place one day after the North Korean delegates participate in the Olympic’s opening ceremonies.
North Korea’s 22-member delegation will be headed by Kim Yong Nam, the communist country’s ceremonial head of state.
But the delegation features Kim Yo Jong, the sister of Kim.
The participation of North Korea in the Olympics was up in the air, but three rounds of talks also led to the entrance of 22 athletes from North Korea.
U.S. President Donald Trump was credited by South Korean officials with spurring the talks through his tough stance on the communist North.
Kim, the sister of the dictator, will be the first member of the North Korean ruling family to visit the South since the 1950-53 Korean War.
She is scheduled to attend the opening ceremony on Friday before joining the lunch meeting.
She is to arrive Friday on a private jet to attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games later that day, and will join South Korean President Moon Jae-in for lunch on Saturday, presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom said.
Moon is looking to the Olympics as an opportunity to pursue a diplomatic opening with North Korea after a year of heightened tensions over its nuclear and missile programs.
Kim Yo Jong has been an increasingly prominent figure in North Korea’s leadership and is considered one of the few people who has earned Kim Jong Un’s absolute trust. She was promoted by her brother last year to be an alternate member of the decision-making political bureau of the ruling party’s central committee, which analysts said showed that her activities are more substantive than previously thought.
South Korean media has been speculating about whether Kim Jong Un will send a personal message to Moon through his sister and, if so, whether it would include a proposal for a summit between the two leaders.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.