South Korea’s National Service, told the country’s law makers that Kim Jong Un decided to transfer more power to his youngest sister, further bolstered the argument that she is now the country’s “de-facto second in command”. But that does not take away the fact that Kim Jong Un is the ultimate authority and exercises “absolute power”, according to the office of Representative Kim Byung-kee, who attended the NIS briefing.
South Korean intelligence, reported that, ” Kim Jong Un has reportedly given his sister, Kim Yo Jong, partial authority to oversee ‘general state affairs’ in order to ease the North Korean leader’s workload.”
NIS said, “Kim Yo Jong was not only one given an increased portfolio” also added that, “Other top-ranking officials in North Korea’s government and ruling Worker’s Party have taken on greater responsibilities as part of this supposed new push to alleviate the stresses on Kim Jong Un, who has been in power for nearly 9 years, but also to potentially shield him from blame of government wrongdoing or incompetence.”
The NIS stressed that Kim’s decision to delegate some responsibilities is not tied to any information regarding Kim’s health, succession plans or his grip on power.
KCNA, North Korean state-run news agency, admitted as much Thursday, when it reported that Kim would convene a senior meeting with the country’s top leaders. The piece blamed the stagnant economic situation on severe internal and external situations and unexpected manifold challenges.”
North Korea was one of the first countries to steal its borders, and because talks with the United States to trade sanctions relief for portions of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons program have failed to yield any tangible results.
Kim’s regime faces several difficult issues to tackle this summer. Its trying to clean up parts of the country after deadly flooding while also keeping the coronavirus pandemic at bay. North Korea’s economy is also believed to be in poor shape, in part because of the ongoing threat of the virus.
Kim Yo Jong for years has been one of her brother’s most important aides and confidants, so questions about Kim Jong Un’s health naturally led experts to focus on her.
Speculation about Kim’s health was rampant earlier this year after the North Korean leader, who historically has kept a grueling schedule filled with public appearances, disappeared a handful of times from the public eye. Sometimes for weeks on end without an official explanation. Kim also reportedly keeps a very unhealthy lifestyle, he is overweight, supposedly both a heavy smoker and drinker and often under stress.
Experts believe that Kim Yo Jong’s rising profile has been part of a carefully choreographed publicity campaign by North Korean state media to signal that she is being groomed for something. Though she has been absent from state media in recent weeks Kim’s star has steadily risen this year. North Korean state media framed her as the architect of Pyongyang’s decision to blow up an office used for dialogue between the two Koreas, a bombastic statement of North Korea’s displeasure with South Korea.