Abruptly, Jong-il’s sister disappears from public

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Abruptly, Jong-il’s sister disappears from public


김정일과 여동생 김경희

Kim Jong-il’s younger sister, Kyong-hui, has not been seen for two months in the North Korean media, and a spotting in June may explain her disappearance.

A South Korean government source familiar with the inner workings of North Korea said yesterday that the 65-year-old Kim Kyong-hui had been seen by South Korean tourists at an airport in Moscow.

“Kim has been suffering from back complications from the past, and it seems she received treatment [in Russia],” the source said. “She was surrounded by North Korean bodyguards at the time. Her back was crooked, like she was in pain, and she had trouble walking.”

Despite her medical problems, the “Dear Leader’s” younger sister apparently spent time shopping for luxury goods in Russia before heading back to the North in August.

Before her abrupt disappearance from the media, Kim Kyong-hui was frequently publicized on Kim Jong-il’s “field guidance trips” with her husband Jang Song-thaek, considered the second-most powerful man in North Korea. The last report on Kim Kyong-hui from the North was on June 5.

Kim Kyong-hui’s recent rise to prominence came after Kim Jong-il suffered a stroke in 2008. Changes were made in the North Korean leader’s entourage shortly after, and the status of both Kim Kyong-hui and her husband was elevated.

When she was given four-star general status with her nephew and Kim Jong-il’s heir apparent, Jong-un, last September, analysts and South Korean government officials agreed that Kim Jong-il was making preparations for his youngest son’s ascension, surrounding him with trusted family members in high positions.

Prior to coming into the spotlight in the past few years, Kyong-hui was widely known to have suffered from severe alcohol addiction and depression.

By Christine Kim [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [중앙일보]

“김경희 러시아서 허리 치료한 듯”

두 달째 공개석상에 모습을 드러내지 않고 있는 김정일 북한 국방위원장의 여동생 김경희 노동당 경공업부장이 최근 러시아에서 허리 치료를 받은 것으로 알려졌다. 북한 내부 소식에 정통한 한 소식통은 3일 “김경희가 6월 초 러시아 모스크바 공항에서 한국인에게 목격됐다”며 “허리 병을 앓고 있는 김경희가 모스크바에서 치료받은 것 같다”고 말했다. 당시 김 부장은 북한 사람으로 보이는 여러 명의 수행원에게 둘러싸여 있었으며 허리를 다친 사람처럼 구부정했고, 걷는 것도 힘들어했다고 한다. 소식통은 그를 목격한 한국인이 누구인지는 밝히지 않았다. 소식통은 “김경희는 지병 치료 후에도 호화 쇼핑과 관광을 했 다”고 덧붙였다.

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