December 26, 2017 11:18
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister Yo-jong made a rare appearance in public seated next to top officials at a Workers Party congress.
The picture, which appeared in the Friday issue of the state-run Rodong Shinmun, points to her growing importance inside the paranoid regime.
Kim is sitting next to her brother's right-hand man Choe Ryong-hae and Workers Party secretaries Kim Pyong-hae, O Su-yong and Pak Tae-song. That suggests she has been quietly promoted to the party's inner sanctum.
Her name already appeared on the list of the Politburo in October.
Nam Sung-wook at Korea University said after Choe's recent purges of his enemies among top brass, "the only person who can keep Choe in check is Kim Jong-un's own flesh and blood Kim Yo-jong."
The aim of her promotion seems to be to keep potential challengers in check and also to take some of the workload off Kim Jong-un, he added.
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