The influential sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been appointed to the country’s top government body, the official KCNA news agency reported on Thursday.
Kim Yo Jong, a key adviser to his brother, was promoted to a position on the State Affairs Commission, the Supreme People’s Assembly, amid changes approved by the rubber-stamp parliament.
No less than nine members of the commission were fired, including its vice president, Pak Pong Ju, and diplomat Cho Son Hui, a rare senior woman in the North’s hierarchy who has played a key role in negotiations with the United States.
The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published pictures of eight new appointments on Thursday, with Kim Yo Jong standing out among them both in their youth and as the only woman.
She has often been seen close to her brother – with whom she went to school in Switzerland – including her summit meetings with then US President Donald Trump and South’s leader Moon Jae-in.
Her precise political role has long been the subject of speculation – as has the possibility that she may one day succeed her brother, a transition that would give the socially conservative North its first female leader.
He has sometimes bitterly condemned Washington or Seoul in statements made by state media, particularly before the North blew up a liaison office on its side of the border, which the South had built and paid for.
Her relatively junior position as deputy department director of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee gave those announcements an element of ambiguity, and in some cases, she specifically stated that she was speaking in a personal capacity.
His official rank rose and fell over time, but his new SAC position is the senior most he has ever held.
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