Kim Jong-Un’s Sister Kim Yo Jong Could Lead North Korea After Him
Following reports of Kim Jong’s ill health, his youngest sister Kim Yo Jong is the frontrunner to lead North Korea.
Video Editors: Varun Sharma, Ashutosh Bhardwal
There is always so much suspense around North Korea that every bit of news coming out of the country grabs headlines. Especially, when there's news about its leader Kim Jong-Un.
Currently, there are several theories doing the rounds regarding Kim's health. Let us discuss who could take over from him, if anything were to happen to him. If rumours and theories are to be believed, who could lead North Korea without Kim?
South Korea, which constantly tracks developments in North Korea, has reported that Kim is alive and well. South Korean President Moon Jae-in's top foreign policy adviser has said that Kim, since 13 April, has been staying in a resort in the Wonsan area in the east of the country and that no suspicious movements have been detected so far.
Where Did These Reports Start Circulating From?
Questions were raised about Kim's well being after he missed the celebration of his grandfather's 108th birthday, on 15 April. Several speculations and theories on his worsening health started doing the rounds thereon. Some said he wasn't well, some said he had a heart problem and some said his health has been worsening ever since he had a surgery.
While Japanese media said he was in a vegetative state. If any of these reports are true, the big question is, who will lead North Korea in Kim's absence. His sister Kim Yo Jong, who is often seen with him, is considered to be the frontrunner to lead North Korea.
Who Is Kim Yo Jong?
According to a report by Bloomberg, born in 1987, Kim Yo Jong is the youngest daughter of late North Korean leader Kim Jong II. When she was 6, she was sent from North Korea to Switzerland for her studies. Kim Jong Un, the current dictator of North Korea was sent along with her.
In 2002, she returned to North Korea and started staying with her father and worked as his close aide. In 2011, her father died of a heart attack and her brother Kim Jong Un took charge of North Korea.
Since then, she has been a close associate of her brother. She has a stronghold in the ruling Workers' Party. If anyone is considered number two after Kim Jong-Un then it is Kim Yo Jong.
Kim Yo Jong’s Global Presence
In the 2018-2019 summit between the US and North Korea, she had participated with US President Donald Trump. She also attended the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. This raised her position in the party.
Recently, Trump had written a letter to North Korea on the COVID-19 crisis. Kim Yo Jong had replied to the letter. A report by Korean Centre News Agency said that relations between Trump and Kim Jong Un are not enough to end the clashes.
At two summits – with Chinese President Xi Jinping and with South Korean President Moon Jae-in – Kim Yo Jong was present with her brother Kim Jong Un. She has constantly proved that she is a strong contender.
Can North Korea Have a Woman Dictator?
Despite her global presence, there are many who believe that she can't take over from her brother because of North Korea's patriarchal society. If she takes over, she will be the first woman to lead North Korea. Experts believe that a country, which has always been ruled by men, might not even give a woman the chance to lead.
Who Are The Others In The Race?
Who are the others who can take over from Kim? His elder brother Kim Jong Chul, reportedly, neither holds any position in the party nor has any experience in politics, unlike his sister. Some reports say that he is interested in music.
Kim Jong Un's nephew Kim Han Sol, who has reportedly always spoken against dictatorship and stays abroad, is naturally out of the race.
According to reports by South Korea, Kim has a 10-year-old son but North Korean media has not reported any information about him.
Currently, Kim Yo Jong appears to be the frontrunner to take over from her brother. However, nothing concrete can be said about his health. South Korean media says he is fine but if any of the rumours come true, then it appears that Kim Yo Jong is ready to lead North Korea.
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