A simple photo of the Vice President of the United States sitting in front of Kim Jong Un’s sister can say a lot. Veuer’s Nick Cardona has that story. Buzz60
SEOUL — Kim Jong Un has invited South Korean President Moon Jae-in to North Korea for talks in the first major development to stem from North Korea’s participation in the Olympics, Moon’s office announced Saturday.
The invitation was delivered by Kim Yo Jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, when she and other members of the North Korean delegation ate lunch with Moon at the presidential palace. Kim Yo Jong arrived here Friday as part of a delegation to the Olympics.
The invitation is a victory for Moon who urged North Korea to participate in the Olympics in the hopes it could lead to broader talks and ease tensions on the Korean peninsula.
It was the first time a member of North Korea’s ruling family ever visited the presidential palace, called the Blue House.
It is not clear whether the talks will lead to a significant reduction in tensions. North Korea has tested a record number of missiles last year and has shown no interest in abandoning the country’s nuclear program.
The country has had a history of taking provocative acts and agreeing to talks that lead nowhere.
In a statement, Moon said he planned to set the conditions to allow the talks to happen. He also urged North Korea to engage in talks with the United States.
Tensions between the U.S and North Korea intensified during the past year, raising worries of armed conflict on the peninsula.
President Trump has traded insults with North Korea’s leader and has led efforts to slap sanctions on the country for its refusal to yield to international pressure to halt its nuclear weapons program.
Talks between North and South Korean leaders have happened in the past without yielding any significant changes in North Korea’s behavior.
The last summit between leaders of the two Koreas occurred in 2007 when South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun and Kim Jong-il met in Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital.
The presence of Kim Yo Jong as part of the delegation to the Olympics led to speculation that she might have been sent because, as a close relative of the North Korean leader, she would be in a position to deliver a personal message to Moon.
Her presence overshadowed the nominal head of the delegation, Kim Yong Nam, the aging head of the North Korean Parliament.
“She’s a pretty important person in the regime,” said Michael Madden, an analyst at the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. “No one else in leadership can bring messages directly to Kim Jong Un.”
Her muted style stands in stark contrast to Kim Jong Un, whose eccentric style and fiery rhetoric has shaped the image of North Korea.
“It helps that she also appears dynamic and photogenic,” he said.
Her exact role in the regime is unclear, but her job is similar to a chief of staff and she regularly reviews the statements and speeches issued by her brother.
Kim Yo Jong, 30, was elected to the politburo last year, but remains little known outside North Korea and has not appeared much in public until now.
“She is a bit of a mystery figure,” Madden said.
Kim Yo Jong and the rest of the North Korean delegation sat next to Vice President Pence at the Olympic’s opening ceremony Friday, but they did not speak or acknowledge each other.