Who is Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s potential successor in North Korea?

Fox News reports amid speculation about North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s health, focus has shifted to his elusive sister who may be next in line to assume the head of the Kim dynasty.

Even Kim Yo Jong’s age is a mystery. She’s rumored to be 36 years old, approximately four years younger than her brother, and reportedly is the youngest child of former leader Kim Jong Il.

Her first public appearance was at her father’s funeral in 2011. Since then, she has worked quietly in the background of Kim Jong Un’s regime, even accompanying him in 2018 as he met South Korean leader Moon Jae-in during the historic summit between the two nations.

Just months beforehand, she attended the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, becoming the first member of North Korea’s ruling family to visit the region since the end of the Korean War in 1953. She later attended a highly publicized lunch with Moon Jae-in.

Kim Yo Jong would be the first woman to rule over North Korea which has built up its nuclear stronghold despite the rest of the country living in poverty.

Seoul repeatedly has denied that Kim Jong Un’s health was in dire peril, even as unconfirmed rumors and media reports suggested he was in a vegetative state after undergoing heart surgery.

Kim Yo Jong’s reputation has suggested she would rule much in the vein of her brother, who has represented the third generation of their family to lead North Korea.

In a rare public statement this past March, she criticized South Korea’s presidential Blue House for urging North Korea to cease nuclear-weapons testing in an effort to quell tensions in the region.

Kim Yo Jong currently has served as the first vice-department director of the Workers Party’s Central Committee.

U.S. officials placed her on a blacklist in 2017 for human-rights abuses.

From Heavy – Feb 8,2018:

1. She is the Youngest of Seven, and Her Private Life is Very Private.

Kim Yo-Jong is the daughter of Kim Jong-il and Ko Yong-hui, and believed to be the youngest of seven siblings.  She was born in 1987 and is the younger sister Kim Jong-Un, the leader of North Korea. Not much is known about her, as is common when it comes to members of North Korea’s notoriously secret regime.

She studied in Bern, Switzerland from 1996 to 2000, and possibly studied at the Kim Il-sung Military University. She attended Kim Il-sung University, where she studied computer science.

She had a child in May 2015. The father is thought to be a fellow student at Kim Il-sung university, though his identity is not confirmed. He is thought to either work as part of a military unit that guards Kim Jong-un, or as an official at Room 39.

2. She’s Been Called Kim Jong-Un’s ‘Ivanka,’ Because her Brother Listens to her Advice

3. She’s Risen Quickly in Politics, Especially After her Father’s Death

Kim Yo-Jon started her career at the WPK Publicity and Information Department. The office manages the news media and public affairs for North Korea. It also manages political education and ideological indoctrination activities.

She was given a position at the National Defense Commission in 2012. She worked as tour manager for her brother. In 2014, she accompanied her brother to vote for the Supreme People’s Assembly. This was the first time she was publicly identified as a senior official of the WPK Central Committee.

She has been head of the Workers Party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department since March 2015, and also holds an unknown vice ministerial post.

In 2017, she was made an alternate member of Politburo, the decision making arm of the Central Committee of the Workers Party of Korea. The decision confirmed her brother’s trust in her. She also plays the role of informant, according to North Korean analyst Ken Gause.

“In time, she will become the last line of defense for him, telling him about the loyalty of his most trusted advisers,” he told CNN.
She is listed on the United States Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals List for “severe human rights abuses” in North Korea.