Kim Jong-un’s sister to join North Korea’s delegates for peace talks with South Korea
North Korea’s late confirmation of its delegates list triggered a last-minute expansion of South Korea’s team ahead of the two leaders’ historic meeting in the demilitarised zone
Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, and senior aides are to join the North Korean leader at his historic summit meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Friday, with peace in the Korean peninsula hanging in the balance.
North Korea confirmed its delegates list only on Thursday. After learning who Kim intended to bring with him to the inter-Korean parley, South Korea then expanded its list in a last-minute move.
The two leaders are to meet at the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone that has separated North and South Korea for 65 years. It will be just the third sit-down between the two Koreas since the 1953 armistice that ended the Korean war.
Kim Yo-jong’s addition to the North Korean delegation points to her growing stature in the wake of her appearance at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February where she spearheaded the North’s charm offensive and became the first member of her family to visit South Korea.
North Korea’s delegates:
Kim Yong-nam, the nominal head of state
Kim Yong-nam is the president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, a position he has held since 1998.
Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong-un
Kim Yo-jong attended the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February as her brother’s envoy.
She is said to have her brother’s ear – more so even than the senior military officials who will accompany Kim Jong-un to Panmunjom.
Kim Yong-chol, head of national intelligence
Kim Yong-chol was also part of the North Korean Olympic delegation in February. His presence raised a controversy, owing to allegations he was behind the 2010 sinking of Seoul’s Cheonan warship that killed 46 people.
Choe Hwi, chairman of the National Sports Guidance Committee
The UN Security Council imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on Choe last year when he was vice director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department, which controls ideological messaging through the media, arts and culture.
But the UN allowed him to attend the Winter Olympics.
Ri Su-yong, vice-chairman on international affairs of the Workers’ Party
Ri met Song Tao, the head of the Chinese Communist Party’s international department, in November when Song went to Pyongyang.
Ri Myong-su, the chief of the General Staff of the Korean People’s Army
Ri was an aide to former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and the head of the Ministry for People’s Security, making him one of the “Gang of Three”, a group of officials that is always in the leader’s entourage.
Pak Yong-sik, minister of North Korea’s armed forces
Pak is one of four senior North Korean officials who were hit by the US with asset freezes and travel bans in 2017
Ri Yong-ho, Foreign Minister
Ri was promoted to foreign minister in May 2016. Ri was a central negotiator in six-nation talks hosted by China on the North Korean nuclear issue.
Ri Son-gwon, the chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country