Kim Jong-un’s younger sister has been put in charge of developing the North Korean leader’s cult of personality, according to sources close to the regime.
Kim Yo-jong was recently appointed vice-director of the North Korean Worker’s Party’s Propaganda and Agitation department (Pad), responsible for “assisting in consolidating Kim Jong-un’s power” by implementing “idolisation projects”, a source in Japan said. News of the younger Kim’s elevation was corroborated by an additional source within North Korea.
Kim Yo-jong replaced Kim Ki-nam, a veteran propagandist who had served the Kim dynasty since the 1960s and who had headed Pad since 1989. Kim Ki-nam’s age, 89, was said to be a factor in his demotion to the largely ceremonial capacity of “adviser”, the source said.
Speculation about Kim Ki-nam’s loss of influence first surfaced in April, when he appeared in the audience, rather than on the podium, during the third session of the 13th Supreme People’s Assembly.
Like all members of the Kim clan, details of Kim Yo-jong’s biography are sketchy. She is believed to be 27 or 28, and in early 2015 is said to have married Choe Song, the second son of party secretary Choe Ryong Hae, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported. Like her brother, Kim Jong-un, she is thought to have spent time at a boarding school in Switzerland during her youth.
In 2011, she featured prominently at the state funeral of her father, the former leader of the DPRK, Kim Jong-il. She then remained outside the public spotlight until early 2014, when she reemerged at her brother’s side during elections to fill the seats in North Korea’s rubber-stamp legislature. Since then, she has made periodic public appearances alongside Kim Jong-un.
One source said that Kim Jong-un had played a direct role in her promotion. “It is said that Kim Jong-un has the utmost trust and confidence in his sister,” the source said, adding that the appointment of a sibling to fill a key post is “indicative of Kim Jong-un’s overall lack of trust among the Party cadres surrounding him”.
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