Everything We Know About Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s Sister
With the health and status of North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un in flux, focus has turned to his sister, Kim Yo Jong.
Kim Yo Jong is in her early 30’s, and has been active in North Korean politics since the 2011 death of her father, Kim Jong Il. Since 2014, she has been the de facto leader of the communist dictatorship’s propaganda department and has helped build a cult of personality around her brother.
Due to the secrecy of the regime, not much else is known about Kim Yo Jong, but what is known suggests that she would continue her family’s legacy of brutality, and that her regime would continue to be one of the worst human rights offenders in the world. The Daily Beast reported late last month that she is “feared” and “respected” inside North Korea, with Nicholas Eberstadt of the American Enterprise Institute calling Kim her brother’s “closest adviser,” and added that he would not expect her to institute reforms in her country. Most recently, Kim Yo Jong has acted as a spokeswoman for the regime, praising President Donald Trump’s attempts to secure peace in the region. (RELATED: REPORT: Kim Jong Un Wanted ‘Famous’ Basketball Players As Part Of Denuclearization Deal)
In 2017, the Treasury Department specifically named her in new sanctions issued against North Korea. The sanctions were intended to freeze property and assets of members of the regime that are located within U.S. jurisdiction. The U.S. government described her propaganda department as “responsible for maintaining ideological purity and managing the general censorship functions” of the country.
Despite evidence that Kim Yo Jong is a willing and active participant in her family’s regime of terror, some American pundits have expressed excitement about her potential leadership, even noting that North Korea may end up with a female leader before the U.S. legacy media outlets, including CNN, fawned over her after she made an appearance at the Winter Olympics in South Korea two years ago, where she was seated next to Vice President Mike Pence. Pence was even criticized for refusing to acknowledge Kim’s presence.
“I did not believe it was proper for the United States of America to give any attention in that forum to someone who is not merely the sister of the dictator but is the leader of the propaganda effort,” Pence said at the time.
Like everybody else at the top of North Korea’s dictatorship, much remains unknown about Kim Yo Jong. The secrecy of the regime has been on full display in recent weeks, as they have let speculation about their current dictator run rampant. Following days of reporting that Kim Jong Un was either dead or brain dead, North Korean state media finally broke their silence Friday night, releasing photos of a man purported to be Kim at a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Whether Kim is actually safe, or this is just more deception from a notoriously devious regime remains to be seen. No matter who takes power in North Korea, it’s unlikely its citizenry will be allowed basic freedoms or human rights anytime soon. (RELATED: Is Kim Jong Un Dead? Here’s What We Know)
If Kim Jong Un does die, and Kim Yo Jong emerges from the ensuing power struggle, all available evidence suggests that she will be just as ruthless as her predecessors. Despite hope to the contrary, it seems likely that a Kim Yo Jong regime would be one of the worst human rights abusers in the world.