Harry J. Kazianis, John Dale Grover, Adriana Nazarko, Dong Geon Lim
The sister of Kim Jong-un has been rising in the leadership ranks since she was a teenager, and might be considered North Korea's second-in-command. The CFTNI's Korean Studies team presents a look into her early years as part of a new series.
In an era when North Korea has begun to shift its focus away from its nuclear weapons capabilities to pursue a "charm offensive" aimed at transforming its global image, one person stands out: Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of Kim Jong-un.
This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone following North Korea over the last several years. Many observers first saw her at the Pyeongchang Olympics, where she sat strategically positioned near U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Yo-jong's historic visit to South Korea challenged preconceived perceptions of North Korea's elite. She was a symbol of a North Korea very few people could have conceived of: young, friendly, and charismatic.