In a historic move, the first member of the family of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un is slated to visit South Korea. Kim Jong’s sister Kim Yo-Jong will visit Seoul on Friday with a high-level delegation for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Notably, Kim Yo-Jong is a senior member of the ruling Workers’ Party in North Korea.
This comes almost a fortnight after the North Korean dictator’s rumoured girlfriend Hyon Song-wol arrived in South Korea ahead of the Winter Olympics to monitor preparations of a North Korean art troupe she is leading. According to The Telegraph, she was greeted by string of shutterbugs. She did not interact with any of the mediapersons.
She was also met with protests following her arrival in the rival nation. Conservative South Korean activists burnt a large photo of Kim Jong Un as she arrived in Seoul.
According to CNN, Kim Jong-Un’s sister Kim Yo-Jong, who is 30-year-old, was in 2017 promoted to the Politburo of North Korea. After her elevation, the US Treasury Department had reportedly included her on the list of blacklisted officials of North Korea.
The move by North Korea might not go down well with the US as the country’s delegation to South Korea is led by Vice President Mike Pence.
Yang Moo-Jin, a professor of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, said, "It is highly significant that a member of the Kim family is coming to the South for the first time in history."
According to him, the dictator’s sister is likely to meet South Korean President Moon Jae-In and give him a personal letter from her brother, expressing his hopes for a successful hosting of the Olympics and desire to improve inter-Korean ties.
"This will mark Kim Yo-Jong's debut on the international stage," Yang told AFP. "She is being groomed as one of the North's most powerful figures by her brother."
She has frequently been seen accompanying her brother on his "field guidance trips" and other events and is known to have been involved in the party's propaganda operations.
The North has always kept its leadership within the family -- Kim Jong-Un is the third generation of the dynasty to lead the country, after his father Kim Jong-Il and grandfather Kim Il-Sung, the North's founder.
Kim Jong-Il fathered both Kim Jong-Un and Kim Yo-Jong with his third partner, former dancer Ko Yong-Hui.
But other family members have not fared so well -- Kim Jong-Un's uncle was executed for treason two years after the younger man came to power, and his half-brother was assassinated in a Malaysian airport last year.
(With agency inputs)