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
|Supreme Leader||Kim Jong-un|
|Preceded by||Kim Ki-nam|
|Deputy Director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department|
28 November 2014 – 24 July 2015
|Supreme Leader||Kim Jong-un|
|Preceded by||Office established|
|Succeeded by||Pak Kwang-ho|
|Born||26 September 1987|
Pyongyang, North Korea
|Alma mater||Kim Il-sung Military University|
|Revised Romanization||Gim Yeojeong|
Kim Yo-jong (Korean: 김여정, born 26 September 1987) 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).
Kim Yo-jong was born the daughter of Kim Jong-il and his wife Ko Yong-hui on 26 September 1987. She and her brother, Kim Jong-un, are said to have a close relationship, 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" possibly because their father Kim Jong-Il wanted to bring them up away from the influence of his father Kim Il-sung. She may have studied at the Kim Il-sung Military University after her return. 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.
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, 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. 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.
In October 2014, she was reported to have possibly taken over state duties for her ailing brother while he underwent medical treatment.
On 28 November 2014, she was named Vice Director of the Workers Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD). In July 2015 she replaced Kim Ki-nam as the de facto leader of the department. She also holds a vice-ministerial post, but her portfolio is not known. She regularly accompanies Kim Jong-un on his "field guidance" trips.
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. This would help explain changes in the way state policies are depicted in the media, as well as differences in reporting. 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.
In 2017, Kim Yo-jong was made an alternate member of the politburo, only the second woman to be appointed to this decision-making body. 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. It has also been hinted that her newly assigned position would also put her in charge of the State Security Department.
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. 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.
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". 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.
In January 2015, she reportedly married Choe Song, the second son of government official Choe Ryong-hae. 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.
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- Media related to Kim Yo-jong at Wikimedia Commons