Kim Jong Un’s Sister Kim Yo Jung Proves Her Loyalty
Kim Jong Un, the current head of state of North Korea, has promoted his younger sister, Kim Yo Jung, to North Korea’s top decision-making body on Saturday.
Kim Yo Jung, the youngest daughter of the late leader Kim Jong Il, was named as an alternate member of the politburo within the ruling Worker’s Party of Korea.
There is not a lot of information on the top officials within North Korea. Ms. Kim made her first public appearance in the word media in December 2011 during her father’s funeral. She is believed to be 28 to 30 years old and have studied in Switzerland before attending Kim Il-Sung University in Pyongyang.
Prior to the promotion, Ms. Kim was the vice director of the Workers’ Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department. Sources believe that she has been responsible in creating the cult of personality around her brother. She has been seen at a number of high-profile state events with her brother.
Her role as vice director has led US officials to blacklist her as one of the seven North Korean officials in January 2017 for “severe human rights abuses” and censorship that concealed the regime’s “inhumane and oppressive behavior.”
Although Ms. Kim’s ascension does not guarantee full protection from her brother’s infamous purges against family members, her promotion to North Korea’s most important political body means that she has gained some level of Kim Jong Un’s trust.
Moon Hong-Sik, a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Strategy, explains that “Since she is a female, Kim Jong Un likely does not see her as a threat and a challenge to his leadership.”
Kim Jong Un and Kim Yo Jung share the same mother, Ko Yong-Hui. Some argue that Mr. Kim may have promoted his sister to guarantee his bloodline dynasty, given his children’s youth and increasing tensions within the Asia-Pacific area.
In addition, Kim Yo Jung replaced her aunt Kim Kyong Hui’s position in the Politburo. Kim Kyong Hui was a powerful ally of the late Kim Jong Il, and was a senior official of the Politburo, serving as the vice-director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department.
Ms. Kim’s promotion suggests Kim Jong Un’s desires to shift the political power from top officials to the younger generation.
“Through the personnel reshuffle, the Kim Jong Un regime has ended its co-existence with the remnants of the previous Kim Jong-Il regime by carrying out a generational replacement in the Party’s key elite posts,” Kim Yong-Hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, explains.