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Hyon Song Wol replaces Kim Yo Jong for protocol during Xi's Pyongyang visit

Hyon Song Wol replaces Kim Yo Jong for protocol during Xi's Pyongyang visit

Posted June. 22, 2019 07:25,   

Updated June. 22, 2019 07:25


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s younger sister Kim Yo- Jong, who serves as director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers' Party of Korea, has not been shown in commemorative photos with officials of the Politburo since April.

Kim Yo Jong was not included in a group photograph of Chinese President Xi, her brother and 32 Politburo officials taken at the headquarters of the Workers’ Party, which was released on Friday by North Korea’s Chosun Central News Agency. Previously, she did not appear in a photo taken on April 13 right after the second reshuffling of the Politburo was done under Kim Jong Un’s leadership.

However, Kim Yo Jong was seen to stand on the seventh spot on a row consisting of party subcommissioners, even before Kim Su Gil who ranks first in the Korean People's Army as director of its General Political Bureau when President Xi was greeted at an airport in North Korea on Thursday. Kim Yo Jong delivered a condolence letter signed by her brother and flowers right after late former South Korean First Lady Lee Hee-ho passed away. Jung Sung Jang, head of Research and Planning Department at Sejong Institute said that she could recently have been promoted to a Politburo member.

Kim Yo Jong has been witnessed to take a different job on Xi’s visit to Pyongyang. Leader of the North's Samjiyon Orchestra Hyon Song Wol, who is serving as vice director at powerful Propaganda and Agitation bureau, was caught on camera accompanying State Affairs Commission Chairman Kim Chang Sun and having conversation in a black suit with Bluetooth earphones on near the red-carpet zone at a greeting ceremony held at Pyongyang’s airport. Hyon has worked as a replacement of Kim Yo Jong who did assist her brother Kim Jong Un at a close distance, according to analysts’ speculations.

Ji-Hoon Lee easyhoon@donga.com