insideaseaninsideasean about usabout us contact uscontact us site map
Asean & Global Updates
POSTED | 16:51 PM | 12-02-2018

Kim’s sister returns to N.Korea

A prim, young woman with a high forehead and hair half swept back quietly gazes at the throngs of people pushing for a glimpse of her, a faint smile on her lips and eyelids low as four bodyguards jostle around her.

In her first appearance on the global stage, Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, had her every move closely scrutinized.

Crowds applauded as she stood for the South Korean anthem during the opening ceremony for the start of the Winter Olympic Games, while her big smiles and relaxed manner left a largely positive impression on the South Korean public, Reuters reported on Monday (Feb 12, 2018).

But her sometimes aloof expression and high-tilted chin also spoke of someone who sees herself “of royalty” and “above anyone else,” leadership experts and some critics said.

Kim Yo Jong’s visit to South Korea, the first by a member of the North’s ruling bloodline since their 1950-53 war, could hardly have come at a more acute time.

US Vice President Mike Pence was also in town, leading international pressure on North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons program and reminding the world of the Kim family’s brutal regime.

When shaking hands or eating meals with officials such as South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim Yo Jong was all smiles, even agreeing to give a toast suddenly requested of her by the presidential Blue House’s chief of staff.

“I can’t speak very well in public,” she told guests attending a dinner at the five-star Banyan Tree Club and Spa in Seoul.

“I never thought I would visit (the South) so suddenly and believed much would be strange and different but I saw many things that were similar or the same. I hope the day we become one comes soon and hope to see all your friendly faces in Pyongyang.”

With so little known about her (even her age of 28 is unconfirmed), scrutiny on Kim Yo Jong was intense, dominating local media and internet chatrooms.

“Personally I think she looked very relaxed during her visit to South Korea,” said Kang Mi-jin, a North Korean defector who works at the Seoul-based Daily NK website. “Her facial expressions were cool and she didn’t seem flustered.”

Reportedly schooled in Switzerland, the youngest daughter of former leader Kim Jong Il was promoted by her brother to the country’s top decision-making body in October.

Kim Man-heum, head of the Korea Academy of Politics and Leadership, said Kim Yo Jong left a largely positive impression on the South Korean public.

In This Section
MOST READ
most read
Korean fever strikes Bhutan
Through the Thai royal lenses
Beauty is not skin deep
Surrogacy and Thai legality questions
TRAVEL & LEISURE
China now the biggest source of foreign tourists to Boston
China now the biggest source of foreign tourists to Boston
A record number of Chinese tourists visited Boston last year, dethroning the United Kingdom as the No.1 source of overseas tourists.
 TRAVEL & LEISURE more