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(LEAD) N.K. to send leader Kim Jong-un's sister to S. Korea this week

2018/02/07 16:23

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(ATTN: UPDATES with more details throughout)

SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has offered to send the younger sister of leader Kim Jong-un as a member of its high-level delegation for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, Seoul officials said Wednesday.

The North informed the South that Kim Yo-jong, the first vice director of the ruling party's propaganda and agitation department, will be included in the high-level delegation led by ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, according to South Korea's unification ministry.

It would mark the first time that a member of the Kim family, from the Mount Paektu bloodline, comes to the South.

The two other officials are Choe Hwi, the chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son-gwon, the head of the North's state agency in charge of inter-Korean affairs.

The North earlier proposed sending a 22-member delegation including three ranking officials and 18 support staffers to South Korea for a three-day trip starting Friday.

"The government views the composition of the delegation -- party, government and sports officials -- as meaningful, given that their trip is aimed at celebrating the opening ceremony of the Winter Games," the ministry said.

It said that Kim was apparently included because foreign leaders' families are customarily sent to deliver congratulations on the games.

The two Koreas have engaged in a flurry of sports diplomacy since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un extended a rare olive branch to Seoul in his New Year's message, after years of tensions sparked by the North's nuclear and missile provocations.

sooyeon@yna.co.kr

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