Kim Jong-un's Sister Surfaces

A person believed to be the younger sister of the successor to the North Korean leadership appeared on state TV on Wednesday. The woman, clad in black traditional costume, was spotted weeping behind Kim Jong-un as he greeted mourners at Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang where dead leader Kim Jong-il lies in state.

An intelligence source said, "She looks slimmer than in the photos we have of her, perhaps because she's been crying a lot, but our analysis confirms she is Kim Yeo-jong (24)."

A woman (marked in red circle), probably in her 20s, receives mourners at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, where North Korean leader Kim Jong-il lies in state. /[North] Korean Central TV A woman (marked in red circle), probably in her 20s, receives mourners at the Kumsusan Memorial Palace in Pyongyang, where North Korean leader Kim Jong-il lies in state. /[North] Korean Central TV

Kim Jong-il had two sons and one daughter with his third wife Ko Yong-hui. The elder son Jong-chol (30) was passed over for the leadership because his father reportedly thought him effeminate, but Yeo-jong apparently remained in her father's favor.

Yeo-jong is said to work in the powerful organizational Department of the Workers Party. An intelligence official said, "Kim Jong-il ousted all his brothers in a power struggle, but gave his sister Kim Kyong-hui the position of party chief and member of the party's political department. Kim Jong-un will probably give Yeo-jong a title too."

Others believe the woman spotted in the North Korean Central TV broadcast on Wednesday is Kim Jong-un's wife. A source familiar with North Korean affairs said, "We have been hearing rumors that Kim Jong-un married a woman from Chongjin who graduated from Kim Il-sung University." But a government source said, "Talk that Kim Jong-un got married is just a rumor. It is unimaginable that they would expose a secret wife to the North Korean public on state TV."

Meanwhile, Kim Ok (47), a director of the National Defense Commission who was Kim Jong-il's de facto fourth wife, was spotted on TV weeping in front of the body and bowing to Jong-un. North Koreans do not know she was Kim Jong-il's wife.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 22, 2011 11:51 KST