Kim Jong Un transfers some powers to sister: S. Korea

SEOUL • North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delegated some of his authority to his younger sister Yo Jong, letting her manage South Korean and US affairs, South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers yesterday.

The move appears to be intended to lighten Mr Kim's burden, the National Intelligence Service (NIS) said, denying that the leader has any serious health issues.

"In regards to Kim Jong Un's circumstances, 'delegation of power' was mentioned," Representative Ha Tae Kyung from the main opposition United Future Party told reporters after a closed-door parliamentary briefing with the NIS.

"Kim Jong Un still exerts absolute power, but in comparison to the past, some of the authority has been transferred little by little," he said, adding that "high stress levels" stemming from his role in governing the country were one reason behind the power shift.

Another reason is so that Mr Kim can deny culpability in the event of policy failure, he said.

But this does not mean Ms Kim, the first vice-director of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party, has been selected as her brother's successor, he added.

The NIS said others who have assumed some of Mr Kim's powers include Premier Kim Tok Hun, with authority over economic policies.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2020, with the headline 'Kim Jong Un transfers some powers to sister: S. Korea'. Subscribe