Kim Jong-un's sister returns to key role in North Korean reshuffle

  13 April 2020    Read: 1020
Kim Jong-un @Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s powerful younger sister has been reinstated to a key decision-making body, state media have reported, marking her rise in the isolated nation.

Long one of her brother’s closest advisers, Kim Yo-jong was reappointed an alternate member of the political bureau of the central committee in a reshuffle of top officials on Saturday, according to the official Korean Central News Agency.

The meeting to decide on the appointment was presided over by Kim Jong-un, it added.

Analysts say Kim Yo-jong is believed to have been removed from the position last year after the collapse of a second summit between her brother and the US president, Donald Trump, in Hanoi.

“The restoration is part of Kim Yo-jong’s recent rise within the north’s hierarchy,” Ahn Chan-il, a North Korean defector and researcher in Seoul, told AFP.

Kim Yo-jong acted as her brother’s envoy to South Korea at the time of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in 2018, which ushered in a rapid diplomatic rapprochement on the divided peninsula.

She has frequently been pictured alongside him at summits with Trump or the president of South Korea, Moon Jae-in.

But she only began issuing statements of direct political significance under her own name last month, which analysts said highlights her central role in the north’s political ranking.

It followed her appointment as first vice-department director of the central committee of the ruling Workers’ party – her main role in the totalitarian state.

Ri Son-gwon, who was named North Korea’s top diplomat in January, was also elected as an alternate member of the political bureau alongside Kim’s sister.


The Guardian

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