August 21, 2020 12:57
Claims from intelligence authorities here that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has delegated some powers to his sister has led to feverish speculation outside the crackpot country's locked borders.
Kim Yo-jong is officially a first vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers Party, an unwieldy title that means in reality that she is now in control of the organization, the National Intelligence Service here said Thursday.
There are some similarities with the titles her brother and father were given when they were respectively the heir apparent, so there is a strong chance that Kim Yo-jong would take over if something happened to her brother.
For now Kim Yo-jong handles dealings with the U.S. and South Korea since assuming the position in March this year. She ordered the destruction of the inter-Korean liaison office in June.
Kim Jong-un's own children are too young to take over. It is unclear how many he has, but none can be much older than 10.
But there is considerable skepticism over the ability of his hatchet-faced 32-year-old sister being able to gain and keep control.
A senior NIS official told the Chosun Ilbo, "Kim Jong-un has been very active in his leadership of the North recently. But we also believe that he suffers from illnesses that run in his family."
The 36-year-old stands 170 cm tall but weighs more than 130 kg, which classifies him as extremely obese and highly likely to be suffering from cardiovascular problems and possibly diabetes.
The Kim family has a history of strokes. Nation founder Kim Il-sung died from a massive stroke at the age of 82, while his son Kim Jong-il died from the same cause at the age of 70. In addition, Kim Jong-un is a chain smoker and heavy drinker.
A psychopath who murdered his own uncle, he also has a genial side and is often pictured looking jolly surrounded by sycophantically laughing officials. Kim Yo-jong, by contrast, is devoid of charisma and lacks any obvious appeal to the public, which could make her a liability.
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