ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
N Korea at crossroads

Kim Jong Un's sister emerges as candidate to visit Pompeo

'North Korean Ivanka' surfaces as possible envoy ahead of US elections

Kim Yo Jong was described as the "North Korean Ivanka" when she visited South Korea in February.    © AP

SEOUL -- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister is emerging as a candidate to visit the U.S. for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has invited a senior Pyongyang official to Washington.

Kim Yo Jong, who is said to have a close relationship with her brother, could play key roles in setting up a summit between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump as well as in narrowing differences between the countries regarding the denuclearization road map.

The siblings studied together in Switzerland when they were teenagers.

"We cannot rule out the possibility that it will be Kim Yo Jong," said Yang Moo-jin, a senior professor of the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. "She accompanied Chairman Kim to the inter-Korean summit in September and during Pompeo's fourth visit to Pyongyang [in early October], while Kim Yong Chol and Ri Yong Ho were excluded."

In May, Kim Yong Chol, a vice chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea, met with Pompeo in New York to discuss the first Kim-Trump summit. Foreign Minister Ri had a meeting with Pompeo last month in New York while the United Nations' General Assembly was in session.

Yang said the North Korean leader's sister could try to influence Trump through an intermediary -- Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter.

Kim Yo Jong was described as the "North Korean Ivanka" when she visited South Korea in February for the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, east of Seoul.

"If North Korea sends Kim Yo Jong to the U.S.," said Paik Hak-soon, president of the Sejong Institute think tank, "Pyongyang would be sending a clear message [that it wishes] to help President Trump [in the midterm elections]. It would also be a gesture meant to pressure the U.S. to make progress toward the agreements it made in Singapore more quickly and clearly."

The first Kim-Trump summit was held in June in Singapore.

Pompeo on Friday suggested that a senior North Korean official come to Washington soon to discuss plans for the second summit, negotiations for which are at a stalemate.

"I'm very hopeful we'll have senior leader meetings here in the next week and a half or so between myself and my counterpart to continue this discussion so that when the two of them get together there's real opportunity to make another big step forward on denuclearization," Pompeo said in an interview with Voice of America.

Trump and Kim agreed to meet after their first encounter but are struggling to fix a date and venue. Trump said the meeting could come after the midterm elections, on Nov. 6, while John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser, said the summit could be a couple of months away.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends April 19th

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media