SEOUL (SOUTH KOREA) – Despite Kim Yo Jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, remained a member of the Central Committee she was not included in the new list of the ruling Workers’ Party’s politburo.
The list released by North Korean news agency KCNA showed that the name of Kim Yo Jong was missing, raising questions about her status after several years of increasing influence.
The party held elections on Sunday for its Central Committee at a congress, which maps out diplomatic, military and economic policy goals over the next five years.
South Korea’s intelligence agency said in August that she was serving as her brother’s “de facto second-in-command”. Kim Yo Jong is only the second woman in patriarchal North Korea to join the exclusive politburo after her aunt Kim Kyong Hui.
Her absence from the politburo list comes days after she took the leadership podium for the first time alongside 38 other party executives as the congress began.
As she emerged as a political figure, she appeared to be her brother’s personal secretary. She later acted as his special envoy to South Korea and a deputy director of a party department overseeing personnel and organisational affairs.
Kim Yo Jong’s influence has grown dramatically in recent years. But the signals were mixed for observers of the reclusive regime after the list was released.