April 29, 2019 12:42
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong was not among his entourage when he visited Russia last week, although she arrived in Vladivostok ahead of her brother's arrival in preparation of their bilateral summit.
Kim returned Pyongyang on Saturday morning after wrapping up a three-day visit to the Russian port city, North Korean state media said Sunday.
The entire ranks of North Korea's political elite converged to greet him, but Kim Yo-jong was nowhere to be seen.
The Rodong Sinmun reported that representatives from North Hamgyong Province came to a train station to greet Kim, suggesting that the ceremony was held in the northern province instead of Pyongyang.
Kim Yo-jong had served as her brother's de facto secretary during previous overseas trips. One researcher at a state-run think tank said, "Kim Yo-jong seems to have been in the public eye too much, and there seem to have been concerns that her frequent appearances could overshadow Kim Jong-un's glory."
She could still be assisting him behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, the Rodong Sinmun said Kim's Russia trip "boosted bilateral ties and further developed traditional amicable relations according to the demands of the new political climate of the new era."
That suggests Kim came home empty-handed. Cho Han-bum at the Korea Institute for National Unification said, "The trip was fraught with difficulties. The fact that there was no joint press conference and that [Kim] returned early shows that he did not bring back anything palpable."
Kim had hoped to win Russia's support in easing international sanctions.
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