Charm Offensive Checked Off List, Kim's Sister Heads Home

Kim Yo Jong made quite a splash during high-level visit to Olympics
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 11, 2018 9:04 AM CST
Kim Yo Jong, center, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, walks with South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, right, and Kim Yong Nam, left, North Korea's nominal head of state, to attend a luncheon...   (Kim Sung-doo/Yonhap via AP)
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(Newser) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister headed home Sunday night after a whirlwind three days in South Korea, where she sat among world dignitaries at the Olympics and tossed a diplomatic offer to the South aimed at ending seven decades of hostility. Kim Yo Jong and the North Korean delegation departed for Pyongyang on her brother's private jet, reports the AP, a day after they delivered his hopes for a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. They capped their final day in South Korea by joining Moon at a Seoul concert given by a North Korean art troupe led by the head of the immensely popular Moranbong band. Kim Yo Jong, 30, is an increasingly prominent figure in her brother's government and the first member of the North's ruling family to visit the South since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. In dispatching the highest level of government officials ever, Kim Jong Un revealed a sense of urgency to break out of deep diplomatic isolation, analysts say.

The North Koreans kept a busy schedule as the world watched their every move. By also sending a youthful, photogenic individual who would draw international attention, Kim might have also been trying to construct a fresher image of his country. It appears to have worked, with one CNN headline declaring that she was "stealing the show." Always flanked by bodyguards, Kim Yo Jong commanded attention wherever she went, walking among throngs of journalists with quiet poise and occasionally shooting an enigmatic smile at cameras. "Honestly, I didn't know I would come here so suddenly. I thought things would be strange and very different, but I found a lot of things being similar," Kim said during a toast at Sunday's dinner, per Moon's office. "Here's to hoping that we could see the pleasant people (of the South) again in Pyeongchang and bring closer the future where we are one again."

(Read more Kim Yo Jong stories.)

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