Kim’s sister Yo Jong sticks by his side through historic Korean summit
Kim’s sister is the only woman at the summit table as North Korean leader keeps his trusted sibling close during historic meeting
- Kim Yo Jong, 30, is the younger sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un
- She acts as de-facto chief of staff advising on policy and reviewing intelligence
- At Friday’s historic summit she was the only woman at the negotiating table
- Most of her considerable power and influence is behind the scenes
- She was instrumental in setting up the talks starting with the Winter Olympics
As Kim Jong-Un greeted dignitaries and signed documents at the historic summit with South Korea, there was one woman who never left his side.
His sister Kim Yo Jong was the only woman at the negotiating table, sitting next to the North Korean dictator as he hammered out a peace deal with his old rival.
The 30-year-old was also on hand at the more informal moments of the summit, collecting his white gloves after a ceremonial tree-planting.
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North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong (bottom right) was the only woman at the negotiating table during the historic summit with South Korea
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is assisted by his sister Kim Yo Jong as he signs documents at the truce village of Panmunjom inside the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas
Ms Kim sits with (left to right) Suh Hoon, head of South Korean National Intelligence Service, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Chief presidential secretary Im Jok-suk, North Korean Party Central Committee vice-chairman Kim Yong Chol, and Kim Jong-Un himself
But at one point, she found herself too close to the action and strayed into shot her brothe and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walked along the red carpet.
Following frantic gestures from the North’s protocol director, she veered swiftly to her right, leaving only her brother and Mr Moon in shot.
Though Ms Kim mostly took notes and dodged the spotlight during Friday’s talks, behind the scenes was a key part of her brother’s inner circle.
Experts said she functions as his chief of staff, managing his engagements, offering trusted advice and acting as a gatekeeper.
Ms Kim is introduced by her brother to South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the red carper as the peace summit begins
Kim Yo Jong brings a bouquet of flowers as her brother and South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in (right) pose with children after meeting at the Military Demarcation Line
Ms Kim sits next to her brother as one of three delegates from each party as they hammewred out the peace deal
Though Ms Kim mostly took notes and dodged the spotlight during Friday’s talks, behind the scenes was a key part of her brother’s inner circle
The historic summit aiming to end more than 50 years of conflict between north and south arguably wouldn’t have happened without her.
Ms Kim was the first member of the ruling party to venture south of the border since the 1953 Korean War armistice as the face of its Winter Olympics delegation.
It was there in PyeongChang she made the first overtures that led to the summit, and then personally delivered the first official letter from the regime to the South Korean government in decades.
Ms Kim was the youngest of former leader Kim Jong-Il’s seven children to four different women, and has the same mother as Kim Jong-Un.
Ms Kim walked behind her brother and Mr Moon as they walked the red carpet
Ms Kim (left) walks with the North Korean from the North to the Military Demarcation Line that divides the two Koreas
It wasn’t all smooth sailing as Ms Kim found herself too close to the action and strayed into shot her brother and South Korean President Moon Jae-in walked along the red carpet
Following frantic gestures from the North’s protocol director, she veered swiftly to her right, leaving only her brother and Mr Moon in shot
As a favourite daughter, she received key government positions after returning from her education in Switzerland.
She often led advance parties to inspect sites before official engagements, and held various administrative posts.
Ms Kim’s power and influence increased when her brother inherited the presidency in 2011 and she began helping with policy making and reviewing intelligence.
Last year she even ascended to the North Korean Communist Party Politburo, the top council under President Kim.
Balbina Hwang, visiting professor at Georgetown University and founder of the National Committee on North Korea, said she held great way over her brother’s decisions.
‘She’s probably one of the most influential people on Kim Jong Un himself, precisely because he has very few people he can trust,’ he told CNN.
The 30-year-old was also on hand at the more informal moments of the summit, collecting his white gloves after a ceremonial tree-planting (pictured)
Kim Jong-Un (5th R) and Mr Moon (4th R) participate in a tree-planting ceremony next to the Military Demarcation Line, with Ms Kim second from left in the delagations
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