November 28, 2014 09:50
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong is now a vice director in the Central Committee of the Workers Party.
The official Rodong Sinmun daily on Thursday reported on Kim's visit to a cartoon film studio in Pyongyang and referred to Kim Yo-jong, who accompanied him, by that title. Previously she was called a "senior official" with the Central Committee.
A vice director is equivalent to a vice minister in South Korea, and Kim Yo-jong is the youngest North Korean to attain such a position at the age of 27. Her father Kim Jong-il did not reach the position until he was 32 while being groomed to become leader, while her aunt, Kim Kyong-hui, was appointed vice director at the age of 30.
Kim Yo-jong accompanied her brother on 12 official engagements this year, suggesting she now plays a key role in the regime.
One member of a state-run think tank here said, "Judging by the fact that Kim Yo-jong was wearing the same uniform as the other high-ranking officials shadowing the leader, she probably holds a key position."
What department she is in charge of is not known. Kim Yo-jong's appointment signals that her brother has now consolidated his grip on power three years after he became leader. So far he has depended on a changing cast of key aides like Choe Ryong-hae, a secretary of the Workers Party, and Vice Marshal Hwang Pyong-so.
Chung Young-tae at the Korea Institute for National Unification said, "Kim Jong-un trusts his own family most. He doesn't have a son and his aunt Kim Kyong-hui is unable to play a role, so he is entrusting Kim Yo-jong to play a part."
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