Jong-un’s sister among 10 most powerful in North Korea


Seoul: The seating arrangements at the memorial service marking the 25th anniversary of the death of North Korea’s founder, Kim Il-sung, at Pyongyang Gymnasium showed Kim Yo-jong (pic) current political status.

She was seated just four places to the left of her brother Kim Jong-un, after vice-­chairmen of the central committee of the ruling Workers’ Party Pak Pongju, Ri Man-gon and Ri Su-­yong.To Kim Jong-un’s right sat Choe Ryong-hae, president of the Presidium of the Supreme Peo­ple’s As­­sem­bly; premier Kim Jae-­­ryong; and vice-chairmen of the Workers’ Party Pak Kwang-ho and Kim Pyong-hae. Because the country’s top officials sit in order of rank, alternating bet­ween Jong-un’s right and left, Yo-jong is likely to be ninth from the top.

She was the only person sitting in the front row who was not a member of the Workers’ Party politburo or Cabinet, and this is unprecedented. Yo-jong is the first vice-director of the Workers’ Party propaganda and agitation department, working un­­der its director Pak Kwang-ho.

According to Rep Lee Hye-hoon, head of the intelligence committee at South Korea’s National Assembly, the National Intelligence Service said photos of the North Korean leadership at Monday’s event shows that Yo-jong’s political status has increased, placing her close in rank to Choe or Ri.

Until the February summit in Hanoi between US President Donald Trump and Jong-un, Yo-jong’s role mostly concerned protocol and overseeing events for her brother.

After the Hanoi summit, however, now-deputy propaganda director Hyon Song-wol has taken over the job, and Yo-­jong has been demonstrating her upgraded status.

She officially accompanied her brother to the meeting with Trump and President Moon Jae-in at Pan­munjom last month.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Pyongyang last month, she stood in line to greet him along with Wor­kers’ Party vice chairmen like Ri and Kim Yong-chol. — The Korea Herald/Asia News Network

North Korea