First member of North Korea’s ruling dynasty to set foot in the South

Photo released by North Korean State Media shows Kim Jong Un’s sister at a table with other high-ranking government officials.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (second from R) shakes hands with Kim Yo-jong, a sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games in the city located some 180 kilometers east of Seoul, on Feb. 9, 2018. Kim arrived in South Korea earlier in the day as part of a 22-member delegation led by the North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam (L). (Yonhap)

SEOUL, Feb. 9 (Yonhap) — South Korean President Moon Jae-in briefly encountered North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s sister on Friday at the opening of the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang.

Moon and Kim Yo-jung shook hands at their first-ever encounter during the ceremony. Kim arrived in the country earlier Friday as part of a delegation led by the North’s ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam.

She is the only member of the North’s ruling family to have ever visited South Korea.

The North Korean delegates are scheduled to attend a lunch meeting hosted by Moon on Saturday.

SEOUL, Feb. 7 (Yonhap) — Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, is set to become the first member of North Korea’s ruling dynasty to set foot in the rival South this week.

The Unification Ministry in Seoul announced Wednesday that Kim Yo-jong, presumed to be aged about 30, will be part of a high-ranking government delegation attending the Winter Olympic opening ceremony slated for Friday.

The team will be led by Kim Yong-nam, the nominal head of state. Kim Yo-jong is widely believed to be powerful and close enough to the leader to directly represent his views.

Kim’s visit could further boost the reconciliatory mood between the Koreas. Seoul wants to pave the way for the restoration of relations and possibly to talks for the denuclearization of the North.

Kim’s high status in the North Korean leadership and close blood tie with the leader raised expectations that she may serve as the reclusive brother’s representative to the South Korean government.

Kim Yo-jong is Kim Jong-un’s only sibling who is part of the North Korean leadership. Kim Jong-chol, the leader’s older brother, went out of the public eye after his younger brother took over the leadership. Kim Jong-nam, the leader’s half brother, was assassinated by apparent North Korean agents at Kuala Lumpur international airport in Malaysia last year.

Eric Clapton Super Fan? Who is Kim Jong Chol?

Unlike her ill-fated brothers, Yo-jong climbed the North Korean regime’s power ladder at an unprecedented speed.

Assassination of Kim Jong Nam Trial: What We Know So Far

She reportedly joined the Kim Jong-un regime in its initial stage, in 2012, before taking up a deputy director post in the Workers’ Party of Korea’s central committee about two years later. Ever since, Yo-jong has frequently been seen standing close to her brother at major state events, an indication of her closeness with him and the regime.

The Unification Ministry currently presumes that she is also serving as deputy chief of the all-important ruling party propaganda and agitation department.

Experts here said that having started early in her 20’s, Yo-jong’s role inside the current North Korea regime has already far exceeded what Kim Kyong-hui, once-powerful sister of late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, did for her brother’s regime in the past.

She is also known to have spent two years together with the leader studying in Switzerland in the 1990s.

Such a special profile is expected to make Yo-jong the mouth and ears of Kim Jong-un when she meets with South Korean officials, especially at a time when Seoul is desperately handling the difficult task of broker talks between the North and the United States for denuclearization.

Eric Clapton Super Fan? Who is Kim Jong Chol?

2015 photo taken at Eric Clapton Concert courtesy Yonhap News Agency

Mystery surrounds the older brother of Kim Jong Un. Few, if any, facts are known, other than the fact that he loves Eric Clapton. He was reportedly spotted in public only a very few times, and each of these times involved an Eric Clapton concert.

In 2006, Kim Jong Chol (sometimes referred to as Kim Jong Chul) purportedly attended several Clapton shows in Germany. Next, five years later, in 2011, Kim Jong Chol was spotted in Singapore at a show.

Courtesy Hankook Ilbo.

Then, in 2015, a camera crew caught him on film attending Eric Clapton’s show at Albert Royal Hall, apparently going two nights in a row. The slim, handsome man was wearing a slick leather jacket and dark shades.

Wikileaks cables dated 2007 reveal the following tidbits of information on Clapton’s biggest fan:

Quoting Dr. Stephen Linton, Chairman of the Eugene Bell Foundation, (who) described a recent two-week mission in the DPRK to oversee Eugene Bell medical assistance programs…Linton, who has visited the DPRK regularly for nearly thirty years… the cable reads:

Arranging an Eric Clapton concert in Pyongyang could also be useful, he said, given Kim Jong-il’s second son’s devotion to the rock legend. END SUMMARY.

And again, a request that Eric Clapton come to Pyongyang…


9. (C) Linton passed on the suggestion from his North Korean interlocutors that the USG arrange for Eric Clapton to perform a concert in Pyongyang. As Kim Jong-il’s second son, Kim Jong-chol, is reported to be a great fan, the performance could be an opportunity to build good will. 


The Family Tree. The recently assassinated older brother, Kim Jong Nam, had a different mother.

Courtesy Korea Joongang Daily.

As to other factual information about Kim Jong Chol, there is very little. He and Kim Jong Un have the same mother, and Kim Jong Chol was born in 1981, studying in Switzerland as a young man.

Kim Jong Chol is said to have fallen out of favor as the leader of DPRK because he is, according to some, girlish and soft-hearted. The Hankook Ilbo newspaper out of Seoul, South Korea reports it this way: he was “suffering symptoms of hypersecretion of female hormones.” (No official source was quoted.)

Courtesy Hankook Ilbo.