CNN international correspondent Will Ripley told Wolf Blitzer Monday that North Korea leader Kim Jong Un scored a diplomatic victory by sending his sister to the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Kim Yo Jong, the North Korean propaganda director, visited the Olympics after South Korea requested the communist dictatorship send a delegation to the games. In addition to Kim, North Korea sent a small delegation of athletes, cheerleaders and a performance art troupe.
“If you’re Kim Jong Un, it was definitely a diplomatic win,” Ripley said. “He sent his telegenic younger sister Kim Yo Jong here to Pyeongchang. She delivered a letter inviting South Korea’s President Moon Jae In to visit North Korea. He accepted on principle, they had photo-ops at hockey games, they had dinners, smiles, handshakes.”
“It was optics—everything that Kim Jong Un wanted.”
Ripley also said that it was a win for South Korean president Moon, who has been actively trying to engage the North in talks to denuclearize and reunite the two countries.
While both North and South Korea were diplomatic winners, Ripley said the U.S. was the clear loser.
“If you’re the United States, however, well, it’s kind of a loss,” Ripley said. “Vice President [Mike] Pence came here talking very strongly against North Korea. He met with defectors, he brought the father of Otto Warmbier, the American student who died after being released from North Korean custody.”
Pence’s visit though was overshadowed by the media’s fawning over Kim Yo Jung, with CNN saying that she was “stealing the show” and The Washington Post comparing her to Ivanka Trump.