Among all the drama and tragedy of 2020 so far, North Korea tensions seem to be only warming up. While Kim Jong-Un remains the single face and leader of the regime, but behind the scenes, another face is playing a powerful role at the decision table.
Kim Yo-Jong, the sister of the North Korean leader has been making news for her statements against South Korea recently. Last week she called the North Korean defectors in the South “human scums” and urged Seoul to pass a law to stop them from sending balloons across the border carrying anti-North propaganda leaflets.
Who is Kim Yo-Jong?
Well, not much is known officially about her. She went to the same school as Kim Jong-Un in Switzerland but her first recorded public appearance in North Korea wasn’t until 2011 at the funeral of their father Kim Jong-il.
For years Jong has acted as the right-hand woman of her brother Kim Jong-Un and is said to have had a leading role to make sure the leader was presented in the best possible light. This is why she is sometimes seen lurking closely behind her brother on the international stage yet rarely at the forefront.
But a shift in her public image has seen her take a more central role. She became the first member of the ruling North Korean family to travel to the South in February 2018 for the Olympics.
Since then we’ve seen Kim Yo-Jong stepped further forward. She has climbed the leadership ranks and is now one of the closest advisors to the leader.
Not only she has appeared visibly closer to her brother publicly but also has taken on more personal initiative handing out orders and issuing a series of hardline statements since early March.
She took a prominent place at the negotiating table for the first North-South Korea summits in more than a decade and was recently promoted to the ruling Politburo, the country’s top decision-making body.
Jong might have had supporting roles for most of her life but the North Korean leader’s sister should not be overlooked.