January 21, 2021

What’s going on with Kim Jong Un’s close circle of women?

Kim Yo Jong seems estranged, Kim Jong Un's wife is still missing and Hyon Song Wol is shining in the spotlight

The outside world tries to understand North Korea by meticulously looking out for seemingly minuscule details, like changes in state media reports, seating arrangements among top leadership or the promotion and demotion of officials.

Lately, Kim Jong Un’s closest circle of women has been under serious scrutiny: There’s Ri Sol Ju (the North Korean leader’s wife), Kim Yo Jong (his sister) and singer-politician Hyon Song Wol — all women who are no doubt important, but whose status remains vague and unclear.