Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and a prominent official in her own right, reappeared in state media coverage released on Tuesday following an over-month-long absence.
In coverage that comes amid speculation she had been demoted from her position on the ruling party’s politburo in the wake of February’s failed DPRK-U.S. summit, Kim appeared alongside her brother at the opening of the new “mass games” propaganda event Monday night.
The appearance marks Kim’s first in public since April 13, when she appeared posing for a photo with “members of the newly elected party and state leading organs” in the wake of the first session of the DPRK’s Supreme People’s Assembly (SPA).
However, her disappearance was not unprecedented: she had not appeared in public for 16 months between June 2016 and September 2017.
Her absence from state media coverage of events attended by ruling party politburo alternate members in April had at the time suggested that she may have been demoted.
She was at the time, however, believed to have retained her position as first vice director of the party’s Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD) — a position which resulted in her being sanctioned by the U.S. government in 2017.
But the move would have represented a surprise fall from grace for Kim, who was promoted to the position of alternate member of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea’s (WPK) Political Bureau (PB) in 2017.
One expert said it remains possible that Kim has lost her position on the Politburo, given her placement in the list of officials named in Tuesday’s state media report.
“Kim Yo Jong is named after Jo Yong Won, alternate member of the party Political Bureau, and before Ri Yong Sik, first vice director of the party Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD),” said Minyoung Lee, an analyst with NK News‘s sister site NK Pro.
“This confirms that Kim Yo Jong retains at least her title of first vice director of the PAD,” she continued. “But she is likely no longer a Political Bureau alternate member, given that she was not in the April 13 Rodong Sinmun photo of the Political Bureau leadership.”
Monday evening’s performance was also attended by ruling party Central Committee Vice-Chairman Kim Yong Chol, in his second appearance in as many days.
Kim’s repeated public appearances appear to defy reports in South Korean media last week that claimed, citing unnamed sources, that he had been sent to a labor and reeducation camp in the country’s remote Jagang province.
Edited by James Fretwell
Featured image: KCNA, modified by NK News
Join the influential community of members who rely on NK News original news and in-depth reporting.
Subscribe to read the remaining 455 words of this article.