The influential sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, Kim Yo-jong, has joined a powerful government body of the Stalinist-ruled country.
State news agency KCNA reported that Kim Yo-jong had become a member of the State Affairs Committee, which includes North Korea’s top policymakers. Nine committee members have been replaced, according to the state medium.
Kim Yo-jong is considered an influential figure within the North Korean regime and appeared alongside her brother several times, including at his meeting with then-President Donald Trump in 2018. She was also the face of the North Korean delegation that year attended the Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Its precise political role is puzzling. Kim Yo-jong first appeared on the scene by name in 2014 and was then staged as a key figure in the ruling Workers’ Party. South Korean analysts have previously labelled her as North Korea’s de facto “number two.” She is said to be an important adviser to her brother and has criticized the United States and South Korea several times through the state media.
Kim Yo-jong’s official rank within the regime has fluctuated in recent years, experts say. Still, regardless of her title, the leader’s sister could play an important role in the country’s governance. Her recent appointment to the Committee on State Affairs is by far the highest official position Kim Yo-jong has held to date. This seems to strengthen its role in North Korea’s leadership.