North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister, an increasingly prominent figure in the country's leadership, will be part of the North's delegation to the South Korean Winter Olympics, officials said Wednesday.
Kim Yo Jong, believed to be in her late 20s or early 30s, would be the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit South Korea since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. Analysts say her inclusion in the Olympic delegation shows North Korea's ambition to use the Olympics to break out from diplomatic isolation by improving relations with the South, which it could use as a bridge for approaching the United States.
By sending a youthful, photogenic person who will undoubtedly attract international attention during the Olympics, North Korea is also trying to construct a fresher and warmer public image and defuse potential U.S. efforts to use the Pyeongchang Games to highlight the North's brutal human rights record, experts say.
The U.S. Olympic Alpine ski team has added Tricia Mangan to replace the injured Jackie Wiles.
Mangan, 20, finished fourth in the super-G at the Junior World Ski Championships in Davos, Switzerland, earlier this year.
Wiles had been expected to be a key part of the U.S. team but crashed during the downhill in a World Cup event at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, last week. She suffered a slew of injuries to her left leg, including a torn anterior cruciate ligament and two broken bones.