North Korea leader’s sister takes ‘real power’ south to Olympics

Feb 8

Pyongyang has let its information out in a slow drip, gradually announcing North Korea’s delegates to the Winter Olympics in South Korea and to the cultural events on the sidelines.

And now, two days before the Games begin, we have learned that Kim Jong-un’s powerful sister, Kim Yo-jong, will travel south. She will be the first legitimate descendant of North Korean founder and president Kim Il-sung to visit South Korea.

Part of this is North Korea maximising the positive PR effects.

The announcement of the full delegation came following the arrivals of its athletes to the Games late last week, and a day after 10 musicians arrived in South Korea.

So now North Korea has earned itself a third day of positive media coverage about its participation in the South Korean Olympics.

It is also highly likely that Pyongyang was waiting to see the final guest list of other world leaders attending the opening ceremonies in Pyeongchang.

The North’s disclosure of its full delegation occurred after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson did not rule out the potential for some degree of interaction between North Korean and US representatives during the Games.

In Pyongyang the delegation was carefully selected. Two of them were a fait accompli by dint of the positions they hold – the head of workers’ and social organisations and the head of the DPRK’s leading inter-Korea relations organisation.

There is a very good chance that the delegation had been selected once North Korea agreed to participate in the Olympics and Paralympics back in early January.

Of course, Kim Jong-un and the core leadership waited until the last possible moment to announce this high-level delegation. Like that delay before a big headlining band takes to the stage, this builds anticipation and excitement. In that way, this publicity move is certainly something of which late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il would most certainly be proud.


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