Kim Jong Un’s sister made a flashy arrival in South Korea on Friday to attend the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, making history as she became the first member of North Korea’s Kim dynasty to visit the neighboring nation.
Arriving on her brother’s white private plane for a three-day visit, Kim Yo Jong — known as North Korea’s “Ivanka” — smiled as a group of South Korean officials and heavily armed guards greeted her at Incheon International Airport.
Kim Yo Jong is scheduled to meet with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Saturday in a luncheon at Seoul’s presidential palace.
South Korean media have been speculating about whether Kim Jong Un will send a personal message to Moon through his sister and, if so, whether it would include a proposal for a summit between the two leaders.
Any such message would be both unusual and highly significant: Kim Jong Un hasn’t set foot outside North Korea or met a single fellow head of state since he assumed power upon the death of their father, Kim Jong Il, in late 2011.
As first vice director of the Central Committee of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, Kim Yo Jong, who is believed to be about 30, has been an increasingly prominent figure in North Korea’s leadership and is considered one of the few people who has earned her brother’s absolute trust.
Her arrival came one day after North Korea held a massive military procession, displaying its intercontinental ballistic missiles before Kim Jong Un delivered a televised speech calling his regime a “global military power.”
The parade featured tanks, airplanes, and thousands of goose-stepping troops- as well as Hwasong-1 4 and Hwasong-1 5 ICBMS, which the North claims can reach U.S. soil.
Moon has been trying to use the Olympics in Pyeongchang as an opportunity to revive meaningful communications with North Korea after a period of diplomatic impasse and eventually pull it into talks over resolving the international stalemate over its nuclear program.
Skeptics say North Korea is employing the Olympics to poke pits at the U.S.-led international sanctions against the country and buy more time to further advance its strategic weaponry.
The North has sent virtually 500 people to the Game, including officials, athletes, artists and also a 230 -member state-trained cheering group after the war-separated challengers agreed to a series of conciliatory gestures for the Games.
South Korea permitted the North to use a 9,700 -ton ferry to transport more than 100 artists to perform at the Olympics, treating it as an exemption to maritime sanctions it imposed on its rival, and is now considering whether to accept the North’s request to supply fuel for the ship.
The Associated Press contributed to this report .
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