In an extremely rare display of effusive praise, North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) quoted dictator Kim Jong-un on Tuesday lauding South Korea’s treatment of a Pyongyang delegation to the Winter Olympics as “very impressive” and expressing gratitude that Seoul “specially prioritized the visit of the members of the DPRK.”
The KCNA is controlled by the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, run by Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong. Kim Yo-jong debuted on the international stage as a special envoy to her brother this weekend in South Korea, meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and inviting Moon to visit Pyongyang.
Kim Yo-jong appears to have been pleased by her treatment in the rival nation, as the news outlet she controls reported praise for Seoul from the nation’s Supreme Leader.
Dictator Kim reportedly met his sister, ornamental head of government Kim Yong Nam, and other members of the high-level delegation to the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang on Monday.
“Kim Yo Jong who activated at the special instruction of Kim Jong Un made the detailed report on her contacts with the south side’s high-level figures such as President Moon Jae In and the south side’s intention and movement of the U.S. side and others which she grasped through her activities,” KCNA notes.
“After receiving the delegation’s report, Kim Jong Un expressed satisfaction over it and said that very impressive were the features of the south side which specially prioritized the visit of the members of the DPRK side who took part in the Winter Olympics,” the report continues.
Kim’s regime appears pleased with the work of Kim Yo-jong, who garnered applause from many on the American left seeking to find anything positive about North Korea for their coverage. South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported on Tuesday that Kim Yo-jong, who returned to Pyongyang on Sunday, “returned to a hero’s welcome” according to photos carried by Rodong Sinmun, another North Korean state outlet. Kim Yo-jong controls all North Korean state outlets.
“The North Korean delegation to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was welcomed back by honor guards at Pyongyang Sunan International Airport on Sunday night,” Chosun reports, citing Rodong reportedly publishing “pictures on the front page every day of Kim Yo-jong talking or standing with President Moon Jae-in. It was the first time the Workers Party organ has ever published a picture of Moon.”
While North Korea’s print media has covered the Olympics, its broadcast media – which Kim Yo-jong also controls – has yet to show any footage of the Winter Olympics. Instead, KCNA and Rodong have written about the Olympics only in the context of Kim’s delegation, such as a report about Kim Yong Nam and Kim Yo-jong watching a women’s hockey match together on Sunday.
“The appearance of the players and the impressive picture of the cheering groups once again made the spectators feel keenly that the Korean nation is a homogeneous nation which can’t live separated from each other,” the report stated. It did not note that the Swiss team they were playing won the match.
Moon’s efforts to involve North Korea in the Olympics resulted in hundreds of athletes, cheerleaders, political figures, and assorted North Korean delegates invading PyeongChang in anticipation of the Games. Moon’s leftist government is also now considering a delegation to Pyongyang to build upon the alleged progress made after Kim Yo-jong invited him to Pyongyang.
South Korea’s Joongang Ilbo cites sources within Moon’s administration to report that Chongwadae officials are working on a proper response to the invitation. At the time, Moon responded that he hoped the two sides could create the “environment” for such a visit to happen. The newspaper claims that, “before Kim Yo-jong arrived in South Korea with a high-level delegation, that the Blue House was considering sending a special envoy to the North if Kim Yo-jong were to deliver a personal message from Kim Jong-un, depending on the content of the message.”
South Korea is reportedly not only seeking diplomatic talks, but military talks. Moon did not bring up North Korea’s illegal nuclear weapons program while meeting with officials from that country, nor did he condemn the long list of human rights abuses attributable to the Kim family. South Korean newswire service Yonhap reported that North Korea had previously agreed in the abstract to military talks, but no time, place, or roster of officials has yet to be chosen.