May 04, 2020 12:47
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un reappeared for the first time in 21 days on May 1, quelling premature reports of his death, with his sister Yo-jong by his side. They cut the ribbon on a fertilizer plant in Sunchon north of Pyongyang.
Kim Yo-jong recently cemented her position as her brother's second-in-command by being reappointed as "alternate" member of the politburo. She had nominally lost the post in a face-saving exercise after the second U.S.-North Korea summit collapsed in 2018.
Photos and videos released by North Korean state media show Yo-jong with her trademark pinched scowl, wearing a black skirt-suit and bangs as she assists her brother in cutting the ribbon.
She was mentioned fifth among senior officials in the reports in the highly status-conscious state media but actually sat in the chair for the third-highest official.
Cho Han-bum at the Korea Institute for National Unification said, "Kim Yo-jong now seems to be the de facto No. 2 in the regime."
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