SEOUL:Kim Jong Un has given himself a lofty new title and removed his ascendant sister from North Korea’s inner circle of powerful elites.
On the sixth day of a rare Workers’ Party Congress meeting, Kim was elevated from chairman to general secretary, a rank previously held by his late father and grandfather. North Korean state media described the role as “the brain of the revolution.” But as a practical matter, Kim’s control over the cloistered regime remains as absolute as ever.
Meanwhile, Kim Yo Jong, the leader’s younger sister and a confidante, wasn’t named to the Politburo, the party’s top decision-making body, in an apparent demotion from her prior standing as an alternative member. Some Pyongyang experts had expected Ms. Kim could be promoted to a full-time seat.
Ms. Kim’s removal from the Politburo reinforces that North Korea is run by a single person, rather than any codified system or set of rules, said Park Won-gon, an international studies professor at South Korea’s Handong Global University. The decision also brings potential benefits to Mr. Kim, he adds.
“Kim Jong Un might think that it is better not to give an official position for his sister because if he did, she could grab her own power network,” Park said.