AT OLYMPICS

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - NEWS -

fi­ca­tion Min­is­ter Cho My­oung-gyon, be­fore be­ing whisked away in a black limou­sine and catch­ing the high-speed train to the moun­tains of PyeongChang. As a sign of her sta­tus, the el­der Kim Yong-nam of­fered her the seat of hon­our at the air­port meet­ing, but she po­litely de­clined.

The trip comes amid a flurry of ac­tiv­ity af­ter Kim Jong-un’s sur­prise pro­posal on New Year’s Day to send a del­e­ga­tion of ath­letes, of­fi­cials, en­ter­tain­ers and cheer­ing groups to the Olympics. His de­ci­sion to dis­patch his sis­ter to the Games is all the more sig­nif­i­cant since Kim Jong-un him­self f hasn’t set foot out­side North Korea or met a sin­gle head of state since he as­sumed power upon the death of their fa­ther, Kim Jong-il, in late-2011.

The North’s Olympic “de­tente” is a strik­ing shift in tac­tics. This is the first time a mem­ber of the Kim dy­nasty has trav­elled to South Korea, though their grand­fa­ther Kim Il-sung went to ar­eas oc­cu­pied by his troops south of what is now the Demil­i­tarised Zone dur­ing the 1950-53 Korean War.

y. The Olympic Caul­dron is lit dur­ing a spec tac­u­lar Open­ing Cer­e­mon Kim Yong-nam at­tended a din­ner for vis­it­ing for­eign dig­ni­taries hosted by Mr Moon. Mr Pence was also at the din­ner and re­port­edly re­fused to shake the North Korean’s hand.

A White House of­fi­cial said Mr Pence did not in­ter­act with Kim Yo­jong or Kim Yong-nam who were seated a row be­hind the US Vice-Pres­i­dent dur­ing the open­ing cer­e­mony.

For se­cu­rity rea­sons, few de­tails of Kim Yo-jong’s three-day itin­er­ary have been made pub­lic.

Kim Yo-jong has been rapidly ris­ing within the North’s power struc­ture and is be­lieved to be in charge of shap­ing her brother’s pub­lic per­sona. But she has gen­er­ally re­mained safely cloaked in her brother’s shadow.

This is her first high-pro­file in­ter­na­tional ap­pear­ance at cen­trestage, though she is tech­ni­cally just a mem­ber of a del­e­ga­tion headed by Kim Yong-nam.

Just be­fore the open­ing cer­e­mony,

K orean Pres­i­dent Moon J ae-in. Kim Yo-jong shakes hands with South US Vice-Pres­i­dent Mik e Pence sits near Kim Y o-jong. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s Jong un’s younger sis­ter Kim Yo Yo-jong jong ar­rives in South Korea flanked by se­cu­rity. Pic­ture: AP

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