Kim Yong Nam, the North Korean President of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly of North Korea, is helping lead the North Korean delegation to the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. The North Korean delegation also includes the sister of Kim Jong-Un.
Kim Yong Nam, though, is not as well known of a figure outside North Korea, which has a lot of people wondering who he is and why Kim Jong-Un would have chosen him for the high-profile honor or, some might say, the duty. He’s been called the regime’s “nominal head of state.” Kim Yong Nam is not the same person as Kim Jong Nam; the latter was the oldest son of former dictator Kim Jong-Il and was murdered in Malaysia.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Kim Yong Nam’s Role Is Largely Ceremonial
North Korea’s top legislator Kim Jong Nam will visit South Korea and attend the opening ceremony of the #PyeongChangWinterOlympics. It is possible for him to meet with US Vice President #MikePence in South Korea. https://t.co/6bKSwPCMG1 pic.twitter.com/b4pQxH3i8S
— China Plus News (@ChinaPlusNews) February 5, 2018
One person controls things in North Korea: Kim Jong-un, who is a dictator known for human rights abused. So, what role does Kim Yong Nam hold in the country? He’s basically a figurehead with a titular power but not one in real life.
The former minister of foreign affairs for North Korea, Kim Yong Nam “holds the role of president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the country’s legislative body,” Newsweek reports. “The largely ceremonial position invests him with the tasks of a head of state, such as welcoming foreign officials and nominating ambassadors.”
North Korea confirmed Kim Yong Nam’s participation in the delegation. “A high-level delegation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea led by Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People’s Assembly, will soon visit South Korea to attend the opening ceremony of the 23rd Winter Olympics,” the North Korean government’s news agency said before the Olympics.
2. Kim Yong Nam Will Be the Highest Ranking North Korean Official to Visit South Korea in Recent Times
This undated photo released by North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 10, 2016 shows Kim Yong-Nam who was selected as a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party Central Committee at the 7th Workers Party Congress on May 9, 2016.
Although his name might not be known to a lot of people throughout the world, Kim Jong Nam’s presence in South Carolina is important because of how unusual it is. Critics say the North Koreans are trying to use the Olympic games for propaganda purposes. According to The Korea Herald, “The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae welcomed Kim’s visit, saying it showed the North’s willingness to improve inter-Korean ties because Kim is the highest-level North Korean official to visit South Korea since the inauguration of the …read more