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(Olympics) N.K. leader's sister sits among world leaders at Olympic opening ceremony

송고시간2018/02/09 23:40

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PYEONGCHANG, South Korea, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister sat among world leaders, including those from the United States and Japan, during the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics on Friday.

Albeit not in the capacity of a state leader, Kim Yo-jong on the VIP podium at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium was the focus of media attention, as she appeared close to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe -- the leaders of the countries keen on compelling Pyongyang to change course towards denuclearization.

Wearing a black coat, Kim, the first member of the North's ruling family to visit the South since the 1950-53 Korean War, sat in a row right behind Moon and first lady Kim Jung-sook.

Shortly before the opening ceremony, Moon with a smile on his face, shook hands with Kim and briefly chatted with her. What they talked about remains unknown.

On her right side was North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, who is leading the North's high-level delegation that arrived here earlier in the day on the North's leader's private plane for a three-day visit. Pence and Abe sat next to each other.

On Saturday, the North's delegation is set to meet Moon for talks at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul. Attention is focused on whether the sister of the North's leader would deliver any message from her brother.

Kim's historic visit to the South is seen as part of Pyongyang's charm offensive, which critics say appears intended to weaken international unity in the enforcement of sanctions to have the North return to dialogue and renounce its nuclear ambitions.

Dignataries, including Kim Yo-jong (2nd from L in 2nd row), the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, attend the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in PyeongChang on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap) Dignataries, including Kim Yo-jong (2nd from L in 2nd row), the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, attend the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics in PyeongChang on Feb. 9, 2018. (Yonhap)

sshluck@yna.co.kr

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