North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's sister Yo-jong was repeatedly shown in the state media orchestrating the celebrations of nation founder Kim Il-sung's 105th birthday on Saturday.
Kim Yo-jong was spotted accompanying her brother to official functions last year but stayed largely out of the limelight this year.
Dressed in a black suit, Kim Yo-jong, who is officially a vice director of the Workers Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department, stood next to ceremonial head of state Kim Yong-nam to greet her brother as he entered the main venue.
She was then seen bustling about in the background as the camera focused on key officials, holding a booklet next to Kim Jong-il as the military parade began, apparently explaining to him the order of events of the ceremony, walking behind as he exited the ceremony and whispering something to top apparatchik Choe Ryong-hae.
She was also seen signaling orders to bodyguards during last week's ceremony marking the opening of Ryomyong Street, an avenue of glitzy high-rise apartments in Pyongyang, and being handed a bouquet of flowers.
"This shows that Kim Yo-jong is a key official who's responsible for major protocol and security for Kim Jong-un," a researcher at a think tank here said.
Another North Korean official who has come to prominence is former State Security Minister Kim Won-hong, who was believed to have been sacked early this year. He is so skinny that his uniform hangs on him, but he sported the insignia of a four-star general and stood next to Choe Pu-il, head of the Ministry of Public Security, which suggests that he has been reinstated after some grueling re-education.
Earlier, the government here said Kim Won-hong had been fired for corruption and demoted to the rank of major general.
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