North Korean leader Kim Jong-un might actually be not as powerful as he seems.
Lately, more and more experts from the neighboring South Korea have proclaimed the North Korean leader’s half-sister Kim Sol-song could actually be the one who has real power in the country.
Rumors started to emerge in South Korea in 2013, with several experts saying that Kim Sol-song, who is 11 years older than her half-brother, was the one who actually ruled the country when Kim Jong Un came to power.
During his speech at the Koryo University, South Korean political expert Cheong Seong-Chang said that many decisions made by the North Korean leader have usually been approved by his half-sister.
“According to reliable sources, it seems to be true that in the system of the DPRK leadership any decision of the head of state requires the approval of his elder sister,” the Director of the Department of Unification Strategy Studies at the Sejong Institute stated.
According to various reports, such distribution of power between the sister and the brother could have been planned by their father, Kim Jong Il.
For instance, in 2013, Korean Sisain weekly reported that “Kim Jong Il highly appreciated the potential of his daughter, who has an education in the field of IT, and even trusted her to manage the entire IT sector of the DPRK.”
At the same time, some people believe that the assumptions are nothing more than just rumors. For instance, Kim Jeongbong, former senior official of the National Intelligence Service Korea and professor at the Hanzhong University believes that Kim Sol-song “is an ordinary woman, who is definitely not starving, because of the fact that she is the daughter and sister of the head of the country.”
Whether the rumors are based on truth or not, remains to be seen. According to the experts, a book on the issue is expected to be published in the near future.
Kim Jong Un became North Korean leader in 2011 after the death of his father Kim Jong II. Since taking office, Kim Jong Un was believed to have absolute authority in the country. He is notorious for his hard-power policy towards his own party members and is said to have executed over 100 military and government officials who dared to criticize him.
North Korea, officially the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, is a country in East Asia, in the northern part of the Korean Peninsula.
Pyongyang is both the nation’s capital as well as its largest city. To the north and northwest the country is bordered by China and by Russia along the Amnok (known as the Yalu in China) and Tumen rivers.
The country is bordered to the south by South Korea, with the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating the two.
Following the Japanese surrender at the end of World War II in 1945, Korea was divided into two zones along the 38th parallel by the United States and the Soviet Union, with the north occupied by the Soviets and the south by the Americans. Negotiations on reunification failed, and in 1948 two separate governments were formed: the communist Democratic People’s Republic of Korea in the north, and the Republic of Korea in the south. An invasion initiated by North Korea led to the Korean War (1950–1953). The Korean Armistice Agreement brought about a ceasefire, and no actual peace treaty was ever signed.
North Korea officially describes itself as a self-reliant socialist state and formally holds elections. Critics regard it as a totalitarian dictatorship. Various outlets have called it Stalinist, particularly noting the elaborate cult of personality around Kim Il-sung and his family. International organizations have assessed human rights violations in North Korea as belonging to a category of their own, with no parallel in the contemporary world. The Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK), led by a member of the ruling family, holds power in the state and leads the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland of which all political officers are required to be members.
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