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What we know of North Korea’s most powerful woman, Kim Yo Jong

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Kim Yo Jong olympics
Kim Yo Jong (center) claps at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Women Preliminary Round Match – Switzerland v Korea on February 10, 2018.
REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

As North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has sought to raise his international standing, a figure seen by his side almost constantly during his meetings with world leaders is none other than his sister, Kim Yo Jong.

During last year’s summit between the United States and North Korea, Kim Yo Jong was front and center during the historic show of diplomacy with President Donald Trump.

It looks like she’s playing a similar role again this year for a second summit between Kim Jong Un and Trump in Hanoi, Vietnam. She was even spotted on Tuesday holding a crystal ashtray as her brother took an early morning smoke break.

It’s not the first time Kim Yo Jong has made headlines — she traveled to South Korea during the 2018 Winter Olympics in February, becoming the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the south since the Korean War in the 1950s.

Like her brother, and much of the rest of their family, few details are known about Kim Yo Jong and the life she lived before reaching a prime leadership role in the North Korean government.

Here’s what we know about her so far:

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