Kim Jong Un’s sister reportedly has been gaining power in North Korea

Written By BlabberBuzz | Source: NYpost | Wednesday, 29 April 2020 14:49

As reports swirl about whether or not Kim Jong Un’s younger sister is a candidate to replace him should he die, a South Korean think tank reported Wednesday that she has been gaining power in the Hermit Kingdom in recent months.

“Kim Jong-un, in order to overcome the national crisis, could expand [Kim] Yo-jong’s status and role as the ‘party center,’” the National Assembly Research Service said in a report, The Korea Herald reported.

“Party center” is a term used for both Kim and his father Kim Jong Il when they were recognized as next in line to become North Korea’s supreme leader, the English-language South Korean paper reported.

Speculation has intensified over Kim’s health in recent weeks, with some reports asserting that he was dead while others claimed he had fled the capital of Pyongyang to avoid the coronavirus.

The think tank said that the 32-year-old Kim Yo Jong’s reappointment as an alternate member of the ruling Workers’ Party’s top policymaking body earlier this month would strengthen her politically as part of the “Baekdu bloodline,” referring to the family of dictators.

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“From early this year, Yo-jong has received the spotlight for active roles, including announcing official messages to South Korea and the US, standing in for Jong-un,” the report said.

“As an individual political figure, she has virtually taken on the role of the party’s center to undertake the responsibility of the party’s monolithic leadership system,” it continued, adding she had gained more notoriety since questions arose about Kim’s health.

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The guessing games about Kim began after he skipped an annual visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun on April 15 to mark the birth of the leader’s late grandfather Kim Il Sung, founder of the communist dictatorship.

President Donald Trump hinted this week that he knew Kim’s condition, but did not provide details.

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While many have speculated that Kim’s sister could take over, other reports suggest that a long-exiled uncle Kim Pyong Il could also be a contender.

The 65-year-old is the last known survivor of the Hermit Kingdom’s founder, Kim Il Sung, Bloomberg News reported.

In the 1970s, Kim Pyong Il was passed over by his half-brother, Kim Jong Il, who took the reins of the rogue regime in 1994 and ruled until 2011.

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Kim Pyong Il wound up spending some 40 years as a diplomat in Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, Poland and the Czech Republic before he returned to his country last year.

Some North Korea watchers now think he might catapult over Kim Yo Jong to take control, mainly due to his gender in the male-dominated society, according to the news outlet.

‘We haven’t seen him’: Pompeo says no sign of Kim Jong Un

This article was sourced from NYpost

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The US has not spotted North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and is monitoring reports about his health, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday, emphasizing the administration’s warnings of a possible famine in the country amid the coronavirus pandemic.

North Korean media has not reported on Kim’s whereabouts since he presided over a meeting on April 11, provoking speculation about his health and raising concerns about instability in the nuclear-armed country that could affect other North Asian countries and the US.

“We haven’t seen him. We don’t have any information to report today, we’re watching it closely,” Pompeo told Fox News after being asked about conflicting reports about Kim’s health.

Pompeo said the US was also monitoring the situation more broadly in North Korea, which borders China, given the risk presented by the coronavirus.

“There is a real risk that there will be a famine, a food shortage, inside of North Korea too,” he added.

“We’re watching each of those things closely, as they have a real impact on our mission set, which is to ultimately denuclearize North Korea.”

Pompeo said at a State Department news conference later that the US would continue to pursue President Trump’s stalled efforts to persuade the Hermit Kingdom to give up its nukes “no matter what transpires there,” referring to a possible change in leadership.

“There’s a lot of work to do on it. We’re going to continue to focus on it.”

Kim Jong UnKim Jong Unvia REUTERS

Trump met Kim three times in 2018 and 2019 in an attempt to persuade him to give up a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States.

Kim balked at the US demand, asserting that America would have to end its punishing sanctions on the impoverished nation before talks could continue.

While talks have stalled, Trump has continued to hail Kim as a friend — and this week hinted that he knew about the dictator’s condition without providing details.

Pompeo did not elaborate on the risk of famine in North Korea, but a North Korean economic delegation was due in Beijing this week to discuss food supplies and trade issues as the coronavirus outbreak has severely disrupted the country’s food supply, two people with direct knowledge of the situation told Reuters.

North Korea is prone to food shortages, with as many as 1.1 million people dying of starvation and related diseases during the famines of the 1990s, according to South Korean estimates.

Officials in South Korea and the US have said Kim may be staying at a coastal resort to avoid exposure to the new coronavirus, and have expressed skepticism about media reports he had some kind of serious illness.

They caution, however, that Kim’s health and location are closely guarded secrets and reliable information is difficult to obtain in North Korea.

“I don’t have anything to add to the status of Chairman Kim,” Pompeo told reporters, while noting that “we did have the opportunity to interact with a number of North Korean officials,” including Kim’s sister and “others.”

Meanwhile, the US has contingency plans in place for an eventual death of Kim that are based on expectations of a mass-scale humanitarian crisis inside the country.

With Post wires

North Korea ‘bewildered’ after faux news report claims Kim Jong Un is dead

This article was sourced from NYpost

Adding to the rumor mill surrounding Kim Jong Un, a five-minute video made to look like a news report has emerged in North Korea, claiming the country’s leader dropped dead during an inspection, according to a report.

Authorities in the Hermit Kingdom have set up a task force to investigate how the footage made it inside the country, the UK’s Sun reported Wednesday.

The faux news report — which was mocked up to appear like a real one from state broadcaster Korean Central Television – is believed to have made it over the secretive country’s border from China, according to the news outlet.

It claimed Kim, 36, died Saturday and will be replaced by his 32-year-old sister Kim Yo Jong, who has been reported to be his most likely successor – though the despot’s uncle Kim Pyong Il also has emerged as a possibility.

Included in the video are clips from his father Kim Jong Il’s 2011 funeral – as well as screenshots of nonexistent articles about the despot’s alleged death, according to the South Korea-based Daily NK.

The video’s circulation throughout North Korea comes after a viral doctored photograph appeared to show Kim lying in a coffin – an apparent doctored version of an image of his father.

“This video bewildered both ordinary citizens as well as party members and other officials when they first saw it,” one person told The Sun. “After it was flagged as a serious issue, however, nobody has been able to openly discuss the video.”

Kim Jong Un and his sister Kim Yo JongKim Jong Un and his sister Kim Yo JongREUTERS

The task is monitoring everyone who has made international calls or sent text messages, according to the report.

“With the investigation intensifying, anyone who’s been making calls to China for business reasons has been lying low,” the source said.

This article was sourced from NYpost

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