S. Korean official describes N. Korean leader's sister as 'smile queen'

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-03-09 17:00 Updated : 2018-03-09 17:00
글씨작게 글씨크게

[Yonhap Photo]

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's younger sister who made her successful diplomatic debut during last month's Winter Olympics has apparently left a good impression at least to South Korean officials who closely accompanied her.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon portrayed Kim Yo-jong, presumed to be 30, as the smile queen who had never lost her sense of smile on the move, at table and in conversation throughout her three-day stay in South Korea.

"Kim Yo-jong gave me such a very comfortable feeling. She could be careful or pressed hard with important responsibilities at a crucial time, but she always smiled, suppressing her feelings," Cho said Friday at a unification-related meeting in the western port city of Incheon.

She was not a style to speak a lot, but when talking, she spoke clearly about what to say, the minister said, adding he had treated and watched the leader's sister at close range for three days.

"It was my own judgment that we were fortunate to have someone like Kim Yo-jong in the North's top leadership," Cho said. "I got an impression that Kim Yo-jong could play an important role not only in inter-Korean relations but also in North Korea's various external affairs."

The private life of North Korea's ruling Kim family has been a top state secret. Defectors and experts claimed that Yo-jong and her brother studied together in Switzerland. Intelligence officials in Seoul said her husband may be an alumnus of her alma mater, Kim Il-sung University.

Yo-jong, the first vice director of the propaganda and agitation department of the North's Workers Party of Korea, has assisted Kim Jong-un in the rear of her brother since he took power following the sudden death of his father in December 2011. Experts in Seoul believe she is in charge of developing her brother's cult of personality.