SEOUL, March 15 (Korea Bizwire) — First Lady Kim Jung-sook is a woman of her word.
Leading up to the March 9 opening ceremony of the Paralympics, Kim issued a statement through Blue House deputy spokesperson Ko Min-jung declaring that she would “attend every event our country’s athletes compete in throughout the Paralympics if possible”.
To uphold her pledge of perfect attendance, Kim did not accompany Moon back to the Blue House after the opening ceremony was concluded, choosing to stay in Pyeongchang.
Since then, Kim has been a consistent presence in the stands during events featuring South Korean performers.
From March 9 through 11, a couple of the games Kim watched in person were the men’s 7.5km biathlon and the ice hockey match between South Korea and the Czech Republic.
Excepting a one-day absence, during which Kim returned home to accompany her husband to a Korean National Police University ceremony in Asan, Kim has faithfully maintained her sojourn at the Paralympics.
To some, Kim’s dedication to the Paralympics and her devotion to being physically present for all events featuring South Koreans is evocative of her efforts during last year’s run-up to the presidential elections, when her weekly visits to the southwestern region of the country earned her the nickname “special envoy to the Southwest”.
Also referred to as the Honam region, the North and South Jeolla Provinces and Gwangju Metropolitan City were called the “heart” of Moon’s opposition. After his election, many credited Kim’s work in the Honam region as having been integral in Moon’s success.
Just as Kim focused her energies on Honam, freeing up Moon to pursue the campaign trail around the country, Kim is said to once again be doing something similar by performing her role as a “special envoy to the Paralympics”, while Moon remains focused on handling the geopolitical matters at hand involving North Korea.
A Blue House insider told Yonhap News in a phone interview that the president’s attention is wholly devoted to issues of national security and foreign relations and is thus unable to look into the Paralympics on a daily basis.
The insider added that it appears to be the case that the first lady and the president have agreed that she will fill the void that has been left by Moon’s absence.
Meanwhile, Moon arrived in Pyeongchang on March 14 and was greeted with a welcoming handshake by Kim, much to the delight of onlookers. The two watched cross-country skiing together.