The development, if real, probable even more cements her standing as the secretive country’s second-most highly effective figure.
Speaking to lawmakers in the Countrywide Assembly on Tuesday, Protection Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo explained Kim Yo Jong is probably now in charge of the Business and Steerage Section (OGD) of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Social gathering (WPK), the social gathering physique that specials with ideological indoctrination, party business and political appointments.
Gurus say the OGD is also responsible for monitoring the estimated 3 million members of the WPK to make confident they are adequately loyal to Kim Jong Un and respect the teachings of the North Korean regime.
Kim Yo Jong has for several years been a dependable aide and confidante to her brother. She formerly served as a single of North Korea’s top propagandists and is now an alternate to the Politburo — the senior overall body of North Korea’s ruling party.
When North Korea and the ruling Workers’ Bash often do not publicly proclaim leadership modifications, industry experts and analysts experienced speculated earlier that Kim may perhaps have been place in cost of the Organization and Guidance Section before this yr, based mostly on her raising portfolio of responsibilities. Jeong, the South Korean defense minister, reported Kim now appears to also have an crucial function in shaping coverage toward South Korea and the United States.
Speak of Kim Yo Jong’s escalating purpose in North Korean politics has previously fueled speculation about her brother’s wellness. Kim Jong Un traditionally has saved a grueling schedule stuffed with general public appearances, but he disappeared a handful of instances from the general public eye previously this yr, occasionally for months on stop. He also reportedly retains a really harmful lifestyle.
North Korea is a notoriously opaque place devoid of a free push, so absences that would be uncommon in most of the globe can manifest in Pyongyang with out formal clarification. In point, South Korea’s formal assessments about Kim Yo Jong’s new position title occur amid stories she was absent throughout numerous critical federal government and bash conferences this summer season.
It is not obvious if her apparent disappearance is tied to her do the job earlier this summer season, when she oversaw the destruction of an office environment utilized for dialogue between the two Koreas. The bombastic statement was believed to be in response to defectors sending anti-North Korean propaganda from inside of South Korea into North Korean territory.
Quite a few professionals feel Kim Yo Jong’s mounting profile has been part of a diligently choreographed publicity marketing campaign by North Korean state media to signal that she’s remaining groomed for a thing, but have been loath to hook up her rising job to any speculation about Kim Jong Un’s demise.
There have been no signals that Kim’s grip on ability has eased, Jeong explained. Agent Kim Byung-kee, who attended the NIS briefing past 7 days, said he was instructed that Kim Jong Un is still the top authority in North Korea and physical exercises “absolute electricity.”
When asked about Kim Jong Un’s probable succession options, Jeong informed South Korean lawmakers Monday it would be “inappropriate for me to formally speak about that.