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Kim Jong-Un inspecting the mountain infantry battalion under KPA Unit 1045 at an undisclosed location. KNS/AFP/Getty Images

The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is planning to travel to Pyeongchang to attend the Winter Olympics as a part of the North's delegation, officials told the AP. Kim Yo Jong is believed to be the first member of the Kim dynasty to visit South Korea since the armistice in 1953.

Why this matters: Experts on the leading North Korean family say that the decision to send an influential figure like Kim Yo Jong, believed to be around 30-years-old, is meant to draw international attention and lighten North Korea's harsh human rights image.

The big picture: It is likely that Kim Jong-un sees himself as an equal to U.S. president Donald Trump who announced that his daughter, Ivanka Trump, will lead the U.S. delegation to the closing ceremonies for the Winter Olympics, according to experts on the family.

  • The United States is also sending Vice President Mike Pence to lead the U.S. delegation to the opening ceremonies.
  • Mike Pence said upon arrival Japan Wednesday that the U.S. is preparing to announce the “toughest and most aggressive” economic sanctions against North Korea in the coming days.

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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.