SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea spent around 240 million won ($223,237) on the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and her entourage during their three-day visit for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, a government official said on Thursday.
The money was mostly spent on accommodation, transportation and food for the four members of the delegation and their 18 staff members, an official at South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said on condition of anonymity.
Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong and the other North Korean officials stayed at the Walkerhill Hotel, a five-star riverside hotel in eastern Seoul.
She and her delegation travelled between Seoul and the Winter Olympics venue on the eastern coast of South Korea and South Korean officials also hosted meals for them at top-class hotels.
The Ministry of Unification spent around 130 million won on accommodation and 50 million won each for transportation and food, the official said.
In comparison, the International Olympic Committee paid roughly $50,000 to for the training and preparation of North Korea’s 22 Olympic athletes, or about $2,300 each.
The amount would be a fraction of the money spent on the rest of the poor, heavily sanctioned North’s main delegation for the Winter Olympics, which included 229 cheerleaders and a 137-strong orchestra.
The Unification Ministry said earlier this month it approved a record budget of about $2.6 million to host the 418 North Korean delegates who didn’t appear in competition – almost $6,200 each.
($1 = 1,075.0900 won)
Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Paul Tait