Kim Jong-Il’s only sister appears to be wielding more power in North Korea after making a comeback to the frontline of the regime last year.
Kim Kyong-Hui, 64, was newly added to a diagram of the North’s power structure released by the South’s unification ministry after returning to the public spotlight for the first time in nearly six years.
“Since her comeback, the sister has frequently accompanied Kim Jong-Il in his field inspections,” ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-Joo said.
Kim Kyong-Hui’s husband Jang Song-Thaek has strengthened his image as the leader’s right-hand man amid speculation he will play the role of regent as the leader grooms his youngest son Jong-Un to take over.
Information is scant about Jong-Un, the second son of Kim Jong-Il’s third wife Ko Yong-Hee. Some reports say Jong-Un, born in 1983, attended an international school in the Swiss city of Berne under a pseudonym. Kenji Fujimoto, a former personal chef to Kim Jong-Il, has described the son as “a chip off the old block” who closely resembles his father physically and in terms of personality.