Kim Jong-un's sister to attend Winter Olympics ceremony

Kim Yo-jong will be accompanying Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s nominal head of state, along with two other senior officials at the opening ceremony on Friday

The North Korean leader's sister, Kim Yo-jong
The North Korean leader's sister, Kim Yo-jong

The North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, is to attend Friday’s opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games held in South Korea.

Ministers in Seoul said that Kim Yo-jong would be accompanying Kim Yong-nam, North Korea’s nominal head of state, along with two other senior officials.

Kim Yo-jong is the youngest daughter of late leader Kim Jong-il and her role was strengthened last year when she was promoted to the politburo.

During the ceremony, both Koreas will march under one flag.

After talks between the two Koreas, both agreed that the North would attend the games. The North’s participation has been seen as a thawing of bilateral ties.

Most of the 280-member North Korean delegation, including a team of cheerleaders, arrived in the South on Wednesday.

The team arrived via a western border at 09:28 local time (00:26 GMT), the Yonhap news agency reported.

The delegation, led by North Korean Sports Minister Kim Il-guk, includes 229 cheerleaders, four officials from the National Olympic Committee, 26 taekwondo demonstrators and 21 journalists.

North Korean cheering squads arrive at the Korean-transit office
North Korean cheering squads arrive at the Korean-transit office

Only 10 athletes will compete for the North at the Games, along with another 12 as part of a unified Korean women's ice hockey team.

The US however, believes that the North is using the Olympics for propaganda purposes and is sending Vice-President Mike Pence to the opening ceremony to counter it.

"We're travelling to the Olympics to make sure that North Korea doesn't use the powerful symbolism in the backdrop of the Winter Olympics to paper over the truth about their regime," he said.

Kim Yo-jong has often appeared alongside her brother. She is said to be very close to Kim Jong-un, who is about four years older than her.

The two of them lived and studied in Berne, Switzerland, at the same time.

She is reportedly married to the son of Choe Ryong-hae, the powerful party secretary, and is a senior official in the ruling Workers' Party.

She has been in the spotlight sporadically in recent years, with her main job being to protect her brother's image through her role in the party's propaganda department.

She remains blacklisted by the US over alleged links to human rights abuses in North Korea.

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