On a crisp winter day two years ago, Kim Yo Jong took her first step to becoming the powerful politician her father thought she would be. It was February 10, 2018. The youngest child of former North Korean leader Kim Jong Il had already made history by becoming the first member of her family since the end of the Korean War to set foot in the southern half of the Korean Peninsula.
The night before, she had attended the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. She sat behind South Korean President Moon Jae-in and watched as hundreds of athletes marched together under a flag representing a unified Korea, a country carved in half in the aftermath of World War II by the Soviet Union and the United States with little regard for the thousands of families that were split apart.
Kim applauded these athletes alongside dignitaries like Moon, US Vice President Mike Pence and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. It was a tremendous photo op. But a trip to the Blue House, South Korea's presidential residence, was a whole different ball game. Kim Yo Jong would be the first member of North Korea's ruling family ever to enter the halls of power of a sworn enemy.