North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has delegated some of his authority to his younger sister Kim Yo-jong, allowing her to manage South Korean and US affairs. This is according to South Korea’s spy agency, as the two countries continue to be embroiled in growing tensions.
The move appears to be intended to lighten Kim Jong-un’s burden, the National Intelligence Service said, denying that the leader has any serious health issues. It comes after Kim Jong-un went missing twice this year amid rumours that his health had deteriorated.
The North Korean leader has placed great trust in his younger sister, who is thought to be pivotal to the country’s propaganda and approach to foreign affairs.
However, Kim Yo-jong’s promotion could lead to an increased danger of violence after her chilling threats to South Korea in June.
She attacked the South as “the enemy” and said Seoul would soon witness the collapse of a “useless” liaison office in the border town of Kaesong.
She continued: “By exercising my power authorised by the supreme leader, our party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with the enemy to decisively carry out the next action.
“Our army, too, will determine something for cooling down our people’s resentment and surely carry out it, I believe.”
She also said she felt it was “high time to break with the South Korean authorities” in a likely reference to previous threats of cutting all ties with the Seoul government.
North Korea blew up a symbolic liaison office near the border which was built to improve ties with the South two days later.
In the same week, Pyongyang also claimed that it would send propaganda leaflets over its southern border, denouncing North Korean defectors and South Korea.