Kim Jong Un ‘promotes his sister to second-in-command of North Korea to help him deal with “stress” of ruling’

  • Kim Jong-un has delegated some powers to subordinates, South Korea claims
  • Sister Kim Yo-jong ‘is now in charge of policy toward South Korea and US’ 
  • Move makes her de-facto second in command, but not his official successor
  • South Korea said the move was designed to help Kim deal with ‘stress’ of ruling


August 20, 2020

Kim Jong Un has promoted his sister to second-in-command of North Korea, according to South Korea‘s spy agency. 

Kim Yo Jong, 32, is now in charge of North Korean policy towards the US and South Korea, effectively making her his de-facto deputy, spy chiefs said.

Her brother still maintains ‘absolute authority’ over North Korea, but has delegated some responsibilities to help him deal with the ‘stress’ of ruling, it was claimed.

The report comes months after 36-year-old Kim disappeared from public view for 21 days, amid speculation he was seriously ill.

Kim Jong Un
Kim Yo Jong

Kim Jong Un has promoted his younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, to become his de-facto second in command and help deal with the ‘stress’ of leadership, South Korea’s spy agency claimsSouth Korea says Kim Jong-Un’s sister is ‘de facto second-in-command’

Ha Tae-kyung, a member of South Korea’s Intelligence Committee, said spy chiefs revealed the transfer of powers during a briefing on Thursday.

‘Kim Jong-un is still maintaining his absolute authority, but some of it has been handed over little by little,’ he said, according to Chosun Ilbo.

While the move makes Kim Yo Jong her brother’s effective deputy, it does not make her his official successor, the newspaper added.

Other subordinates were also handed additional responsibilities, South Korea said. 

Kim is thought to have three children with his wife Ri Sol Ju, though none of them have been seen in public. They are thought to be aged ten, seven, and three.

Kim Yo Jong had already taken a more prominent role in North Korea’s leadership structure following suspicions over her brother’s health back in May.Kim Yo Jong had already been taking a more prominent role in North Korea, after her brother disappeared from public view earlier this year amid speculation about his health+1

Kim Yo Jong had already been taking a more prominent role in North Korea, after her brother disappeared from public view earlier this year amid speculation about his healthKim Jong Un’s sister lurks behind Donald Trump at Hanoi summit

In June, she gave the order to blow up a joint liaison office with South Korea amid fury at propaganda leaflets being sent over the border.

She was also charged with organising a counter-leaflet campaign in revenge, and ordered loudspeakers playing propaganda messages to be erected along the border.

She also threatened South Korea with unspecified military action, until Kim Jong Un ordered the threat to be withdrawn.

At the time, observers said it was possible that North Korea was trying to boost the leadership profile of the younger Kim, in the event she has to step in for her brother if his health fails.

Others suggested that the pair were attempting to develop a ‘good cop, bad cop’ dynamic, potentially giving them an edge in negotiations with foreign powers – after the collapse of nuclear talks with Donald Trump.   

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