North Korea: Kim Jong-un promotes sister to politburo

Kim Jong-un centre seen with his younger sister Kim Yo-jong at a nursing home for the elderly in a picture provided by Korean Central News Agency on 6 March 2017Image copyright

Image caption

Kim Yo-jong (circled) has often appeared alongside her brother

North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has given his sister more power by promoting her to the nation’s top decision-making body.

Kim Yo-jong, the youngest daughter of late leader Kim Jong-il, will be replacing her aunt as a member of the Workers Party’s Politburo.

Ms Kim, 30, was referred to as a senior party official three years ago.

The Kim family has ruled North Korea since the country was established following the Second World War in 1948.

Ms Kim, who has frequently appeared alongside her brother in public and is thought to have been responsible for his public image, was already influential as vice-director of the propaganda and agitation department.

She is blacklisted by the US over alleged links to human rights abuses in North Korea.

Her promotion was announced by Mr Kim at a party meeting on Saturday as part of a reshuffle involving dozens of other top officials.

The BBC’s Danny Savage says the move to elevate Ms Kim will be seen as further evidence of the Kim family’s iron grip on North Korea.

When Ms Kim was given a key post at the country’s rare ruling party congress last year, it was widely expected that she would take up an important role in the country’s core leadership.

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Among other announcements made on Saturday was the decision to promote Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho – who last month referred to US President Donald Trump as “President Evil” at a UN meeting – to a full vote-carrying member of the Politburo.

Mr Ri has recently accused Mr Trump of declaring war on North Korea and said that if the president continues with his “dangerous” rhetoric the US will become an “inevitable” target for missile strikes.

The promotions come as a defiant Mr Kim once again made it clear that North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme would continue despite sanctions and threats.

His comments were made hours before Mr Trump tweeted that “only one thing will work” in dealing with Pyongyang following years of dialogue that the US president said had failed to deliver results.

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