Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean Supreme Leader, Kim Jong Un is reportedly the de-facto second-in-command, as per the South Korean Intelligence report. However, if the reports are to believed, Kim Jong Un is not at all impressed with this media coverage.
There have been many rumors claiming his death and ill health. However, reports suggest that he is alive but ceded some power to his sister. Since March this year, Kim Yo Jong was visible aggressively in North Korea. There were reports that she has started replacing her brother. However, it might not have gone too well with the Supreme Leader.
Kim Yo Jong has disappeared from the public since July 27. The intelligence of South Korea believes that she is lying low to refute the impression of her being the second-in-charge. This may be an order from the Supreme Leader as well. She is not even attending a meeting, even though a member of the Politburo.
As per Professor Nam Sung-wook, an expert on secretive North Korean affairs, sister Kim must be laying low. He said that history says anyone who has come close to be the second was deprived of the power. Either they were removed or never heard of again. The case with sister Kim is a bit different though. She is the family member of the family that rules North Korea. However, that might not go well with the Chairman.
The intelligence reports however suggest that Yo Jong is still maintaining the day to day affairs of North Korea. She is the vice department director of the workers’ party central committee. Chairman Kim Jung Un has been relieved with some responsibilities to cope up with the stress. This is also seen as a backup mechanism to avert any culpability in case of policy failure.
However, it is said the Kim Jong Un still holds absolute authority over the affairs.
Will we see a change in policy for North Korea where a second-in-state will be recognized by the state? Only the time can answer it. However, there is a high probability that Kim Yo Jung is the second commander and is lying low now. But if the health of the Chairman further deteriorates, she might come as the reckoning force of North Korea.