The New York Times is using the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea to hand North Korea’s gulag nation a public relations victory over Vice President Mike Pence, in the smiling form of the dictator’s influential sister: “Kim Jong-un’s Sister Turns on the Charm, Taking Pence’s Spotlight.” Reporters Motoko Rich and Choe Sang-Hun delighted in using Pence as a stooge stand-in for the loathed President Trump.
When the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, decided to send a large delegation to the Winter Olympics in South Korea this month, the world feared he might steal the show.
If that was indeed his intention, he could not have chosen a better emissary than the one he sent: his only sister, Kim Yo-jong, whom news outlets in the South instantly dubbed “North Korea’s Ivanka,” likening her influence to that of Ivanka Trump on her father, President Trump.
Flashing a sphinx-like smile and without ever speaking in public, Ms. Kim managed to outflank Mr. Trump’s envoy to the Olympics, Vice President Mike Pence, in the game of diplomatic image-making.
While Mr. Pence came with an old message -- that the United States would continue to ratchet up “maximum sanctions” until the North dismantled its nuclear arsenal -- Ms. Kim delivered messages of reconciliation as well as an unexpected invitation from her brother to the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, to visit Pyongyang, the North Korean capital.
And while the unified Korean Olympic team received a standing ovation as they marched into the stadium Friday night, Mr. Pence remained seated, which critics said was disrespectful of the athletes and his host, Mr. Moon.
In this Olympic event, it was the mad dictator 1, “bullying” VP Pence 0.
[history professor Alexis Dudden] added, “The fact that he and Mrs. Pence didn’t stand when the unified team came in was a new low in a bullying type of American diplomacy.”
The insulting labels were reserved not for the murderous dictatorship, but for Americans opposed to it:
For Mr. Pence’s supporters, “I think the hard-line wing of the United States thinks he did a fine job,” said David C. Kang, director of the Korean Studies Institute at the University of Southern California.
Commentators analyzed her no-nonsense hairstyle and dress, her low-key makeup and the sprinkle of freckles on her cheeks....
Her quietly friendly approach while in South Korea -- photographers repeatedly captured her smiling -- seemed to endear her to some observers.
Only deep into the story were generic criticisms raised.
It was up to Buzzfeed, of all places, to put the media’s newest princess in perspective under the salty title, “PSA: Kim Jong Un's Sister Is Not Your New Fave Shade Queen. She's A Garbage Monster -- What the hell is wrong with you people?” Subheads included reminders that “the North Korean regime actually enslaves many of its citizens....Kim Yo Jong's family literally runs gulags.”