중앙데일리

Kim Jong-un’s sister is having a ball

'통제불능' 김정은 여동생, 北 상상 못했던…

Aug 08,2012
Kim Yo-jong, the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appears at the opening ceremony of the Rungna People’s Pleasure Ground on July 25 where the leader Kim and the first lady Ri Sol-ju attended. There, the sister seems to act in a carefree manner at the official event, hanging around the park alone, left, or jumping over a flower garden, middle. On the right, she even bursts into laughter behind the leader’s back as he salutes. [Screen capture of the Korean Central TV]

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s little sister seems to be enjoying the new regime.

Not much is known about Kim Yo-jong. She’s assumed to be 23, but other than that her background remains a mystery.

The only thing people really know is that she’s showed up in public recently having what looks to be a pretty good time, something not normally associated with serious, controlled North Korea.

She’s been on TV laughing behind the back of leader Kim Jong-un and frolicking at official events.

Just last December, at the funeral of her father Kim Jong-il, Kim was weeping and greeting guests with Jong-un.

However, eight months later, in footage from the North’s official Korean Central Television, the sister was bright, frisky and almost out of control at an official occasion.

On July 25, when Jong-un made a visit to the Rungna People’s Pleasure Ground in Pyongyang with his wife Ri Sol-ju, the couple was welcomed by high-ranking officials applauding them.

But his younger sister didn’t join in, instead just watched them from a distance.

During the majority of her brother’s visit, she wandered around the park alone, while even her powerful aunt Kim Kyong-hui and uncle Jang Song-thaek stood rigidly in line.

When Jong-un was shaking hands with an official there, she was running toward the opposite direction next to a flower garden.

When the leader received a bunch of welcoming flowers and saluted in reward, she burst into laughter behind his back.

“The point is that her actions would normally be restricted in North Korea because of the formal nature of the culture, but no one can stop her,” a South Korean source told the JoongAng Ilbo.

“It seems that because she is a member of the Kim dynasty and the sister of the leader she feels like she can get away with it.”

The state media also showed her other actions, such as looking around the park with Kim Ok, the late leader Kim Jong-il’s de facto first lady, and aunt Kyong-hui. She even talked with a high-ranking military official and joked with him.

But she hasn’t been caught on camera hanging around with her brother or her sister-in-law, Ri Sol-ju.

Born of Ko Yong-hui, the ex-leader Jong-il’s reportedly favorite wife and the same mother as Jong-un, the sister is also believed to have studied in Bern, Switzerland, with her half-brother Jong-chol and Jong-un.

In response to a report from the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun that she could have directed the recent concert featuring Disney characters, a Unification Ministry official from South Korea was doubtful.

“She’s only about 23,” the official said.

By Lee Young-jong, Kim Hee-jin [heejin@joongang.co.kr ]



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