North Korea unveiled Thursday the official title of leader Kim Jong-un’s younger sister who’s been in the spotlight, calling her a deputy director of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.
The confirmation of Kim Yo-jong’s formal position came amid growing speculation over her political role and stature in the communist regime.
She was among Kim’s entourage when he visited a cartoon film studio in Pyongyang, reported the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
Those who accompanied him included “vice department directors Kim Yo-jong and Kim Ui-sun of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee,” it said.
Both Kim Jong-un, reportedly 31, and Kim Yo-jong, 27, were born to Ko Yong-hui, known as the fourth wife of late leader Kim Jong-il.
They lived in Pyongyang together and went to the same boarding school in Switzerland.
As the only younger sister of the current leader, she was often seen accompanying him in public activities.
She is apparently groomed to play a key supporting role for her brother in the absence of their once-powerful aunt Kim Kyong-hui, whose husband, Jang Song-thaek, was executed late last year, according to some observers.
Kim Yo-jong now holds the vice ministerial post, but her actual
political status looks to be much higher, they said.
The South Korean government believes she is working in the propaganda department of the party, an informed source said.
A unification ministry official also noted that her father, Kim Jong-il, served in the department when he was being groomed to become the nation’s leader himself.
The official refused to answer a question about whether the government views Kim as a substitute for Kim Kyong-hui.
Chang Yong-seok, senior researcher at a Seoul National University institute, said Kim Yo-jung seems to be more influential than Kim Kyong-hui was.
“Kim Yo-jong is playing a substantive role in creating Kim Jong-un’s image as a people-oriented leader, standing at the core of his efforts to solidify his power base,” he said.
Kim Jong-un, meanwhile, affirmed his affection for animation.
Touring the Korean April 26 Cartoon Film Studio, he said his visit is intended to “bring about a fresh turn in animation and, through it, put the film making in full progress,” the KCNA said.
He was quoted as adding that animation films “play an important role” in educating people and promoting their revolutionary spirit.
In 2012, Mickey Mouse and other Disney characters performed on stage in a Pyongyang concert for Kim. (Yonhap)
Source : The Korea Herald