North Korean leader Kim Jong Un conferred more power on his sister Kim Yo by giving her partial authority to oversee “general state affairs”. With this, Kim Yo Jong, it looks like, has become Jong Un’s second in command and the state’s de facto ruler.
Kim Yo is the North Korean leader’s only close relative with a public role in politics and recently led a new, tougher campaign to put pressure on the South.
Kim Yo is said to have gained the responsibility of shaping policies towards Seoul and Washington.
Kim Jong Un admitted that US-led sanctions, the pandemic and devastating floods have hurt his country’s dismal economy. Jong Un’s ruling party is scheduled to convene a congress in January to set development goals for the next five years.
The party met for a plenary meeting on Wednesday, where Kim announced the party’s next Congress meet. The last Worker’s Party Congress met in 2016—it was the first such meet in 36 years. Kim, at the plenary meeting, acknowledged economic shortcomings caused by “unexpected and inevitable challenges in various aspects and the situation in the region surrounding the Korean Peninsula,” the North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday.
Kim Jong Un on Thursday chose a group of senior officials, including his sister to manage state affairs. The move has raised questions regarding the state of Kim Jong’s health, but officials close to the leaders have denied the rumours. The leader stayed low for a couple of weeks in April, raising speculations about his well being.
Lockdown imposed in the country in the wake of the coronavirus and reduced trade with China has put pressure on the country’s economy and hampered its ability to mobilise its workforce. It is expected that Kim could announce a new foreign policy and porch towards the US and South Korea during the party congress in January.