North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un Gives Sister Senior Government Position

Kim Jong Un
(Photo : Flickr / petersnoopy / CC)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has appointed his sister as the Central Committee's vice department director.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has appointed his youngest sister, Kim Yo Jong, as the vice department director of the state's Central Committee, according to CNN.

News about the female Kim's rise to political power was first reported by KCNA, a state-funded newspaper. According to the news outlet, the two were recently seen touring a cartoon film studio in North Korea on Thursday.

There are no official details yet regarding the exact duties of the 26-year-old Kim Yo Jong. However, experts knowledgeable in the field of politics speculate that the current leader has turned to his immediate family as a way to secure his dynasty, the Independent reported.

"[Kim Jong Un] is in dire need of allies and if he is forced to appoint his sister, who is both younger than him and a woman, then he doesn't have enough people to rely on," Dr. Remco Breuker, a Korean studies professor at Leiden University told the Independent.

"He probably wants her as a close ally and confidante," he added.

The professor noted that the appointment of Kim Yo Jong is probably related to Kim Jong Un's long absence from public view.

For most of September, the North Korean leader was not seen by the public or the media. He resurfaced on Oct. 14 and was seen walking with a cane.

Analysts speculated that the leader's disappearance and the cane indicated that his health is slowly deteriorating. If this is true, then Kim Jong Un might be grooming his sister to take his place in the future, as implied by Breuker.

"You could make the opposite argument that Kim Jon Un is so strong he can put his sister into a position of power, but given what is going on, I don't think this is the case," he said. "Strong leaders aren't absent from the public six weeks without any reason."

The theory about the leader's sister replacing him is not an unlikely idea since during his six-week absence, Kim Yo Jong was reportedly running North Korea.

"Last month, when Kim Jong Un disappeared from view to undergo medical treatment, there were reports that she was acting as leader," Dr. Leonid Petrov of the Australian National University's School of History and Culture told

"She has a thirst for power," he added.

Tags North Korea, Kim Jong Un, World News

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