Kim Yo-jong

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Kim Yo-jong
Moon Jae-in meeting with North Korean delegates at Blue House (cropped).jpg
Kim Yo-jong in February 2018
Vice Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party of Korea
Assumed office
24 July 2015
DeputyPak Kwang-ho
Supreme LeaderKim Jong-un
Preceded byKim Ki-nam
Deputy Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department
In office
28 November 2014 – 24 July 2015
Supreme LeaderKim Jong-un
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byPak Kwang-ho
DirectorKim Ki-nam
Personal details
Born (1987-09-26) 26 September 1987 (age 31)
Pyongyang, North Korea
NationalityNorth Korean
ParentsKim Jong-il
Ko Yong-hui
Alma materKim Il-sung Military University
SignatureSignature of Kim Yo-jong
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Yeojeong
McCune–ReischauerKim Yŏjŏng

Kim Yo-jong (Korean: 김여정, born 26 September 1987)[1] is the younger sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un. She is also the youngest daughter of late leader Kim Jong-il and granddaughter of late founder Kim Il-sung. She is an alternate member of the Politburo (Political Bureau) and the Vice Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK).

Early life[edit]

Kim Yo-jong was born the daughter of Kim Jong-il and his wife Ko Yong-hui on 26 September 1987.[1] She and her brother, Kim Jong-un, are said to have a close relationship[2], due to shared isolated years while studying together in Switzerland from 1996 to 2000, and in North Korea, "where social and emotional isolation appears to have been a defining force in their early lives"[3] possibly because their father Kim Jong-Il wanted to bring them up away from the influence of his father Kim Il-sung.[4] She may have studied at the Kim Il-sung Military University after her return.[1] She also studied computer science at Kim Il-sung University where she is said to have studied with Kim Eun-gyong, the daughter of Japanese abductee Megumi Yokota.[5]


She was first spotted at a photo session for participants at the 3rd Conference of the WPK [ko] in September 2010, when she stood next to her father's personal secretary and alleged mistress Kim Ok.[6]

Kim Yo-jong was given much publicity during the funeral service for Kim Jong-il in December 2011, when she appeared several times alongside her brother Kim Jong-un or leading funeral processions of central officials, despite not even being a funeral committee member, and she was never named. She was then reportedly given a position under the National Defence Commission at the beginning of 2012 as tour manager for Kim Jong-un,[7] but has not appeared in news reports except for November 2012, when the Korean Central Television showed her accompanying Kim Jong-un at a military riding ground.[8] She was officially mentioned for the first time on 9 March 2014, as she accompanied her brother in voting for the Supreme People's Assembly. Kim Yo-jong was identified as a "senior official" of the WPK Central Committee.[9]

Sources indicate that Kim Jong-un may be grooming Kim Yo-jong to replace their aunt Kim Kyong-hui (with whom Kim Yo-jong is said to have a good relationship[6]) in her supporting role.[10]

In October 2014, she was reported to have possibly taken over state duties for her ailing brother while he underwent medical treatment.[11]

On 28 November 2014, she was named Vice Director of the Workers Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD).[12] In July 2015 she replaced Kim Ki-nam as the de facto leader of the department.[13][14] She also holds a vice-ministerial post, but her portfolio is not known.[15] She regularly accompanies Kim Jong-un on his "field guidance" trips.[16]

Talks inside the Peace House in April 2018

She has been said to be the driving force behind the development of her brother's cult of personality, modelled after that of their grandfather, Kim Il-sung.[3] This would help explain changes in the way state policies are depicted in the media, as well as differences in reporting.[3] Thae Yong-ho, a North Korean defector and former diplomat, said in 2017 that Kim Yo-jong organised all major public events in North Korea. Kim Yo-jong was said to have encouraged her brother to present an image of a "man of the people" with, for example, rides on fairground attractions and his friendship with the basketball star Dennis Rodman.[17][18]

In January 2017, she was placed on the US Treasury's Specially Designated Nationals List in response to human rights abuses in North Korea.[19]

In 2017, Kim Yo-jong was made an alternate member of the politburo,[20] only the second woman to be appointed to this decision-making body.[21] Her ascension to the country's supreme governing body may indicate that she is Kim Jong-un’s replacement for his aunt, Kim Kyong-hui, who has not played an active role in his regime.[22] It has also been hinted that her newly assigned position would also put her in charge of the State Security Department.[23]

On 9 February 2018, Kim attended the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This was the first time that a member of the ruling Kim dynasty had visited South Korea since the Korean War.[24] She attended the meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on 10 February, and revealed she was dispatched as a special envoy of Kim Jong-un and delivered a personally written letter from Kim to Moon.[25]

According to Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, and others, the promotion of Kim Yo-jong and others is a sign that "the Kim Jong-un regime has ended its co-existence with the remnants of the previous Kim Jong-il regime by carrying out a generational replacement in the party’s key elite posts".[18][26] Newsweek's Tom O'Connor echoed this opinion, writing that Kim Yo-jong's rise to power was part of Kim Jong-un's overall plan to appoint younger people in place of his father's older elites who may have harboured doubts about the younger Kim Jong-un's ability to lead North Korea.[4]

Kim was part of her brother's team during the 2018 North Korea–United States summit.[27]

Personal life[edit]

In January 2015, she reportedly married Choe Song,[28] the second son of government official Choe Ryong-hae.[29] However, South Korean government sources have since denied the accuracy of these reports. Kim Yo-jong was expecting a child in May 2015. The father, not identified, is thought to be a fellow alumnus of Kim Il-sung university and either an official at Room 39 of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) or working at a military unit responsible for guarding the country's leader.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Kim Yo Jong". North Korea Leadership Watch. 6 May 2016.
  2. ^ (, Deutsche Welle. "Kim Yo Jong: Who is the North Korean leader's mysterious sister? | News | DW | 8 October 2017". DW.COM. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "North Korea's New Propagandist?". 38 North. 14 August 2015. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b O'Connor, Tom (9 February 2018). "Who is Kim Jong Un's sister? Kim Jo Yong is becoming North Korea's most powerful woman". Newsweek. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  5. ^ Kim Hee-Jin (19 March 2014). "Abductee's daughter is favorite of Kim's sister". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved 30 April 2015.
  6. ^ a b "KJI Youngest Daughter Working as Events Manager for KJU?". North Korea Leadership Watch. South Korea. 22 July 2013. Archived from the original on 22 December 2013.
  7. ^ "Kim Yo-jung is believed to have studied abroad and to share her older brother's ambition". South Korea: Hankyoreh. 22 July 2013.
  8. ^ "North Korea Newsletter No. 237". South Korea: Yonhap News Agency. 22 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Kim Jong Un Visits Kim Il Sung University of Politics and Takes Part in Election of Deputy to SPA". North Korea (site in Japan): Korean Central News Agency. 9 March 2014. Archived from the original on 10 March 2014.
  10. ^ "Kim Jong-un 'preparing to purge aunt'". The Telegraph. United Kingdom. 6 December 2013.
  11. ^ Silva, Cristina (2 October 2014). "Has Kim Yo-Jong Taken Over For Kim Jong Un? Sister Assumes North Korea State Duties While Brother Undergoes Medical Treatment". International Business Times. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  12. ^ Pearson, James; Ju-min Park (29 November 2014). "North Korea's 'princess' moves closer to center of power". Reuters. Archived from the original on 26 November 2015.
  13. ^ "Kim Jong-un's sister promoted to run 'idolisation projects' in North Korea". The Guardian. UK. 24 July 2015.
  14. ^ Lee Sang Yong (20 July 2015). "Kim Yo Jong in de facto power of PAD". Daily NK. Retrieved 28 May 2018.
  15. ^ a b "The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea – Kim Jong-un's Sister to Have Baby in May". Chosun Ilbo. 30 April 2014. Retrieved 30 April 2014.
  16. ^ "N. Korea's Kim Jong-un executed 15 top officials: S. Korea spy agency". Yahoo! News. AFP. 29 April 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  17. ^ Sherwell, Phillip (8 January 2017). "Sister helps Kim strut his stuff as key missile test looms". The Times. Retrieved 15 February 2017. (Registration required (help)).
  18. ^ a b McCurry, Justin (9 October 2017). "Meet Kim Yo-jong, the sister who is the brains behind Kim Jong-un's image". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  19. ^ "U.S. blacklists North Korean officials over rights abuses". Reuters. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Kim Jong Un praises nuclear program, promotes sister to center of power". Reuters. 8 October 2017.
  21. ^ Gale, Alastair (9 February 2018). "Behind the Rapid Rise of Kim Jong Un's Younger Sister". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 10 February 2018.
  22. ^ McCurry, Justin (9 October 2017). "Meet Kim Yo-jong, the sister who is the brains behind Kim Jong-un's image". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Kim Jong-un 'Puts Sister in Charge of State Security'". Retrieved 30 January 2018.
  24. ^ Haas, Benjamin (9 February 2018). "US vice-president skips Olympics dinner in snub to North Korea officials". the Guardian. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  25. ^ "South Korean president invited to North Korea". koreatimes. 10 February 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
  26. ^ "Kim Jong-un's sister sits just yards from the tyrant after promotion". Mail Online. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  27. ^
  28. ^ (2 January 2015) Kim Jong Un’s Little Sister Married Son of Top Regime Official, Report Says Wall Street Journal, Asia, Retrieved 16 January 2015
  29. ^ "NK leader's sister weds son of Choe Ryong-hae: sources". Yonhap News Agency.

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