North Korea may have a woman at the helm–Kim Jong-Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong–according to a rash of rumors that have popped up recently.
There’s several pieces of the news, with some indicating that the dictator Jong-Un may no longer be in control of the country.
Jang Jin-sung, formerly a key member of Kim Jong-il’s propaganda machine, said recently that a powerful group of officials that once reported only to Jong-il have stopped taking orders from Jong-Un and now effectively run the country.
The group is called the Organization and Guidance Department, and some of them want to keep the status quo while others want to open up the market.
“On one hand, it’s people who want to maintain a regime monopoly,” Jang told VICE News through a translator.
“On the other hand, it’s not like people are fighting against the regime, but in a policy sense they want to take advantage to get influence. It’s not actually consciously civil war, but there are these two incompatible forces at play.”
The insight comes as Seoul-based think tank North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity says that Kim Yo Jong may be leading the country instead of her brother.
The NKIS says that Jong-Un is getting medical treatment for an unspecified illness, and that the extended treatment was actually decided upon at a high-level meeting in early September that was held at Yo Jong’s suggestion.
“All the important matters related to government administration should be reported to Kim Yo-jong, so that Kim Jong-un can concentrate on getting better,” the people at the meeting decided.
Yo Jong is the daughter of Jong-il, the former North Korean leader, and his wife Kim Yong-hui, and was first spotted in public in September 2010. She was officially mentioned for the first time on March 9, 2014, being identified as a “senior official” in the government.
Then again, perhaps Yo Kong is not in total control, according to Kim Heung-gwang, the head of NKIS.
“Some say Hwang Byong-so, director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, may have assumed new No. 2 status, but given what has been confirmed this time, we can say Hwang is just a shadow, and Kim Yo-jong is the second-in-command of North Korea,” he said.
The possible leadership change comes amid reports of an attempted coup.