UPDATE : 2019.3.22 FRI 17:52
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N. Korea's high-level Olympic delegation arrives in S. Korea

The powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and other senior officials arrived in South Korea on Friday for the opening of the PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games and a meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The high-level government delegation to the quadrennial event, headed by the communist state's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam, arrived at Incheon International Airport on a North Korean airplane.

The 22-member delegation includes Kim Jong-un's younger sister, Yo-jong, who is also a key propaganda official of the ruling Workers' Party.

They were expected to soon travel to the eastern city of PyeongChang, located some 180 kilometers from Seoul, for the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games later in the day.

Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, is also scheduled to attend a reception dinner hosted by Moon that will also involve U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The North Korean delegates will return to Seoul for a Saturday lunch meeting with Moon, possibly at his presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Kim Yong-nam is technically the highest ranking North Korean official to visit South Korea, while Kim Yo-jong is the only member of the reclusive state's ruling family to have ever visited the South.

The divided Koreas have held two rounds of inter-Korean summits, in 2000 and 2007, both in Pyongyang.

Many speculate Yo-jong may be carrying a message from the North Korean leader himself.

The official delegation will return home Sunday.

Pyongyang agreed to take part in the Olympics in bilateral talks with Seoul last month, which marked the first inter-Korean dialogue in more than two years.

The North has sent 22 athletes and hundreds of cheerleaders, performers and taekwondo demonstrators to PyeongChang. A 140-member art troupe from the North performed in the eastern city of Gangneung on Thursday and will do so again in Seoul on Sunday. (Yonhap)

Hwi Won  edt@koeapost.com

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