A North Korean official and former intelligence chief thought to be responsible for the deaths of dozens of South Koreans will lead Kim Jong Un’s delegation at the conclusion of the 2018 Winter Games; raising the stakes as tensions in the region remain at an all-time high.
According to Fox News, 72-year old Kim Yong Chol will lead the eight-member delegation to visit South Korea for the final three days of the international competition. The former intelligence official currently sits as the Vice Chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party Central Committee.
Regional experts believe Kim was the mastermind behind a deadly North Korean attack on a South Korean warship in 2010; killing over 40 sailors and injuring dozens more.
“During Kim’s time in the intelligence agency, which is called the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea was suspected of carrying out the 2014 cyber attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment,” writes Fox News. “The department is tasked with carrying out cyber warfare and intelligence operations against other countries.”
US officials and South Korean authorities confirmed that Kim was placed on an international “blacklist” over his alleged crimes, but claim his “blacklist” status won’t impact his visit to South Korea; adding the restrictions don’t include a “travel ban.”