Kim Yo-jong and Kim Jong-un.
While some may watch the Olympics for the sports, others are more interested in the drama and the political intrigue. So here’s a story for the latter category: it was announced on Wednesday that Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un, will be attending the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Yo-jong, believed to be 30, works as the head of North Korea’s propaganda and agitation department — she was recently seen out touring a cosmetics factory with her brother. Though North and South Korea are marching under a unified flag in the Olympics, her trip will mark the first time an immediate member of the North Korean ruling family has visited their southern neighbor since the Korean War.
There are a few theories as to why she’s going. For starters, according to the Associated Press, it’s a way to telegraph a “fresher and warmer public image.” Another posits that the country’s trying to upstage Vice-President Mike Pence, who will be leading the United States delegation.
Per The Guardian:
Prof Koh Yu-Hwan, of Dongguk University, said Pence’s planned presence in Pyeongchang may have been a factor in Kim’s decision to send his sister. “Her trip will create a media frenzy, stealing the show from Vice-President Pence who wants to highlight the North’s human rights abuses and sanctions-defying nuclear drive,” he told AFP.
The Olympics opening ceremony will kick off this Friday.