Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong is successfully operating one of the vital essential political our bodies in North Korea, officers in Seoul consider, in accordance with South Korea’s protection minister.
The event, if true, doubtless additional cements her standing because the secretive nation’s second-most highly effective determine.
Chatting with lawmakers within the Nationwide Meeting on Tuesday, Protection Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo mentioned Kim Yo Jong is probably going now in command of the Group and Steerage Division (OGD) of North Korea’s ruling Staff’ Celebration (WPK), the celebration physique that offers with ideological indoctrination, celebration group and political appointments.
Consultants say the OGD can be liable for monitoring the estimated 3 million members of the WPK to ensure they’re sufficiently loyal to Kim Jong Un and respect the teachings of the North Korean regime.
Kim Yo Jong has for years been a trusted aide and confidante to her brother. She beforehand served as one in all North Korea’s high propagandists and is now an alternate to the Politburo — the senior physique of North Korea’s ruling celebration.
Whereas North Korea and the ruling Staff’ Celebration typically don’t publicly proclaim management adjustments, consultants and analysts had speculated beforehand that Kim could have been put in command of the Group and Steerage Division earlier this 12 months, primarily based on her growing portfolio of tasks. Jeong, the South Korean protection minister, mentioned Kim now seems to even have an essential function in shaping coverage towards South Korea and america.
Jeong’s feedback seem consistent with last week’s assessment by South Korea’s Nationwide Intelligence Service (NIS) that Kim Jong Un had determined to delegate extra of his powers to senior officers surrounding him, together with Kim Yo Jong, with a purpose to ease his workload.
Discuss of Kim Yo Jong’s growing function in North Korean politics has beforehand fueled hypothesis about her brother’s well being. Kim Jong Un traditionally has saved a grueling schedule crammed with public appearances, however he disappeared a handful of instances from the general public eye earlier this 12 months, generally for weeks on finish. He additionally reportedly retains a really unhealthy way of life.
North Korea is a notoriously opaque nation with no free press, so absences that might be uncommon in a lot of the world can happen in Pyongyang with out official rationalization. In actual fact, South Korea’s official assessments concerning Kim Yo Jong’s new job title come amid reviews she was absent throughout a number of essential authorities and celebration conferences this summer time.
It’s not clear if her obvious disappearance is tied to her work earlier this summer time, when she oversaw the destruction of an workplace used for dialogue between the 2 Koreas. The bombastic assertion was believed to be in response to defectors sending anti-North Korean propaganda from inside South Korea into North Korean territory.
A number of consultants consider Kim Yo Jong’s rising profile has been a part of a fastidiously choreographed publicity marketing campaign by North Korean state media to sign that she’s being groomed for one thing, however have been loath to attach her rising function to any hypothesis about Kim Jong Un’s demise.
There have been no indicators that Kim’s grip on energy has eased, Jeong mentioned. Consultant Kim Byung-kee, who attended the NIS briefing final week, mentioned he was advised that Kim Jong Un continues to be the final word authority in North Korea and workouts “absolute energy.”
When requested about Kim Jong Un’s potential succession plans, Jeong advised South Korean lawmakers Monday it might be “inappropriate for me to formally talk about that.