Home News Next in Line? Kim Jong Un’s Kid Sister “Feared” and “Respected” in North Korea

Next in Line? Kim Jong Un’s Kid Sister “Feared” and “Respected” in North Korea

by Paul Goldberg
Next in Line? Kim Jong Un’s Kid Sister "Feared" and "Respected" in North Korea

DailyBeast reports as the world waits to see if North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is alive, dead, or somewhere in between at the age of 36, all eyes are turning to his little sister, 31-year-old Kim Yo Jong. She looks like the top contender to succeed him, but does she have what it takes to do that in a regime long characterized by extreme brutality?

She might well.

Kim Yo Jong’s rise within North Korea’s omnipotent Organization and Guidance Department makes her North Korea’s “No. 2” in the eyes of the Workers’ Party bureaucrats—and that makes her not only the most visible heir to Kim Jong Un’s throne but, already, a central figure of authority.

If, as some have reported, Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un is near death after a surgical procedure, Yo Jong may already have the power to fend off any challenges to her claim on leadership.

If Kim Jong Un Dies, His Younger Sister Is Primed to Take Over

She makes the decisions on what’s important enough for big brother Kim Jong Un’s scrutiny, says Robert Collins, who’s spent more than 40 years analyzing North Korea.

Collins, author of a lengthy study of the agency at the center of power in the North, says Kim Yo Jong exercises such authority around the OGD as to force party officials “to both fear and respect her.” Evidence that she’s got the job if not the title of OGD first vice director, he says, is that “the North Korean media always mentions her with Party cadre who are serving at that level.”

Kim Yo Jong’s importance at the OGD, which has life-or-death power over the country’s 26 million citizens, adds to the growing impression that she’s been groomed for years to serve as a regent for Kim Jong Un if he’s incapacitated by medical issues or, if he dies, while waiting for his son, a child of about 10, to assume the mantle.

Kim’s condition remains a mystery ever since his absence from view after a session of the rubber-stamp Supreme People’s Assembly on April 12, but there’s no doubt about little sister’s place within the North’s ruling dynasty.

Read more here.

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