Will Kim Yo Jong Be The First Female Ruler Of North Korea?

File Photo of Kim Yo Jong - Sakshi Post

Whether North Korea’s male-dominated Kim dynasty will hand over the keys to a woman remains uncertain, just as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s health condition continues to remain secretive. Reports claimed that Kim Jong Un had undergone a heart procedure and has been unwell ever since.

Some reports also started speculating over who will assume power in case Kim Jong Un is unable to rule North Korea because of ill health or death. Some suggested that the next in line would be Kim’s sister Kim Yo Jong who has the highest chance of succession. If the speculations are true then Kim Yo Jong would be North Korea’s first female ruler since her grandfather Kim Il-Sung founded the nation in 1948.

Now all eyes have turned to his sister and closest confidant, Kim Yo Jong.

Kim Yo Jong is in charge of North Korea's propaganda affairs, and earlier this month was made an alternate member of the powerful Politburo.

Yo Jong is also said to share her brother’s secrecy and penchant for lashing out against political adversaries.

Her age is not exactly clear, though she’s believed to be in her early 30s, a few years younger than Jong Un. She’s kept a low profile, only last month releasing her first public statement, mocking South Korea as a ‘frightening dog barking’ for opposing a live-fire military demonstration.

Yo Jong has a reputation for aggressively pushing North Korea propaganda and was among the officials who have worked to enact “rigid censorship policies and conceals its inhumane and oppressive behavior,” the department said at the time.

“Among the North’s power elite, Kim Yo Jong has the highest chance to inherit power, and I think that possibility is more than 90%,” an analyst told the Associated Press.

Yo Jong may have to contend with her other brother, Kim Jong Chol for power — though he was already passed over when their father chose Kim as the next in line to serve.

She has been routinely observed at her brother’s side at public appearances and is involved in relations with Washington and South Korea, whose media has dubbed her “the Ivanka Trump of North Korea.”

Born in either 1988 or 1989, she was once a chubby-cheeked girl who loved dancing and was nicknamed 'Princess Yo Jong' by her father, the late dictator Kim Jong Il, according to a biography of Kim Jong Un titled 'The Great Successor' by Anna Fifield.

In the late 1990s, she joined Kim Jong Un in attending primary school in Berne, Switzerland. The two lived in a private home with staff and bodyguards, according to North Korea Leadership Watch.

There’s not much known about her life between her time in Switzerland and 2007, when she began playing a role in the ruling party, other than that she was reportedly a favorite of her father, Kim Jong Il, who ruled from 1994 to his death in 2011.

Her appearance by her brother's side at the time of their father's death let the North Korean public know she was a part of the Paektu bloodline. She soon had a position in the Workers' Party Propaganda and Agitation Department, according to South Korea, where she was responsible for managing the image of the leader in state media -- a post similar to one held by her father when he was being groomed for succession.

She steadily rose through the ranks and became a closer confidante to her brother, accompanying him on inspection tours of factories, farms and military units. Then her high-profile appearances on the international stage, which included mundane tasks like helping the leader extinguish a cigarette during a train stop in China, helped cement her status.

'When Kim Yo Jong has risen as high as she already has, she is no longer considered a woman but a leader who inherited greater legitimacy to rule than others,' said Chun Yungwoo, South Korea's former envoy to international nuclear talks with North Korea. 'North Korea certainly is one of the most male chauvinistic societies in the world, but bloodline supplemented by status in the Korea Workers' Party supersedes gender.'

Kim Yo Jong's clout was on display last month when she personally responded to a letter from Trump offering assistance to fight Covid-19. In a statement carried by state-run Korean Central News Agency, she said Trump's 'close relations' with her brother weren't enough to settle differences between the longstanding enemies -- providing a glimpse into how she would handle U.S.-North Korea ties if she does take power. (With inputs from Fox News ,NYP and AP)

Also Read: Where Is Kim Jong Un? Special Train Seen Parked In North Korea Resort Town

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