[2018 Inter-Korean summit] Who’s that woman accompanying North Korea’s Kim Jong-un?

By Sohn Ji-young
  • Published : Apr 27, 2018 - 11:57
  • Updated : Apr 27, 2018 - 17:23

North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un crossed the border to the South on Friday for the first historic inter-Korean summit in 11 years on Friday. Accompanying Kim at the truce village of Panmunjeom was a nine-member entourage, only one of whom is a woman.

For those wondering, she is not the first lady. She is Kim Yo-jong, the North Korean leader’s sister and the first vice department director of the North's Central Committee of the Worker’s Party of Korea. 

(Cheong Wa Dae)

(Cheong Wa Dae)
(Cheong Wa Dae)

She is the only daughter of North Korea’s late supreme leader Kim Jong-il and his wife Ko Yong-hui, a Japanese-born Korean dancer. She has two older brothers, Kim Jong-un who is the eldest and Kim Jong-chol. Kim Jong-nam, who was assassinated in Malaysia last year, is her half brother.

Kim Yo-jong, 30, is considered a close and powerful confidante to Kim Jong-un and was sent to the South as Kim Jong-un‘s special envoy during the recent Winter Olympics held in South Korea. She currently remains on a US sanctions list over alleged links to human rights abuses in North Korea.

On Friday, Kim Yo-jong was seen closely accompanying her brother as he started his historic meeting with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in.

After Kim Jong-un crossed the Military Demarcation Line, he passed the flowers he had received to his sister, who was waiting behind him. 

(Cheong Wa Dae)

Afterwards, she was the fourth person from North Korea to shake hands with President Moon, after the North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Young-nam, Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea’s Central Committee in charge of inter-Korean affairs, and North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho.

Kim Yo-jong, who had already met with Moon two months ago, greeted the South Korean president with a bright smile. “Nice to see you,” she said. 

She closely followed the North Korean leader in the events that followed, and security guards had to ask her to step aside when the two leaders were posing for photos.

Kim Yo-jong was also seen personally handing over a pen she had prepared to Kim Jong-un, as he was about to sign the guestbook at the Peace House where the summit is taking place. She was seen sitting to the left of her brother as the summit began.

(Cheong Wa Dae)

By Sohn Ji-young (