Kim Jong Un's influential sister to attend PyeongChang Olympics

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By Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, who is an increasingly prominent figure in the country's leadership, will be part of the North's delegation to South Korea for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

South Korea's Unification Ministry said North Korea informed it Wednesday that Kim Yo Jong, 1st vice director of the Central Committee of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, would attend.

North Korea also said the delegation will include the country's nominal head of state Kim Yong Nam, as well as Choe Hwi, chairman of the country's National Sports Guidance Committee, and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North's agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (center) and his younger sister Kim Yo Jong (second from left).KCNA / EPA, file

Seoul previously said the delegation would arrive Friday but the statement Wednesday was the first confirmation a member of the North's ruling family would be included.

Kim Yo Jong is believed to be aged in her late 20s or early 30s. She was promoted by her brother last year to be an alternate member of the decision-making political bureau of the ruling party's central committee, which analysts said showed that her activities are more substantive and more important than previously thought.

She is believed to be one of Kim Jong Un's closest confidants. They were born to the same mother, Ko Yong Hui.

North and South Korea technically remain at war, but are cooperating for a series of conciliatory measures during the Olympics, which Seoul sees as an opportunity to ease tensions with Pyongyang following an extended period of animosity over its nuclear weapons and missiles program.

North Korea has 22 athletes competing in the Winter Olympics but also has sent artists and a cheering squad.