Amid rumors, last month, that Kim Jong Un was either deceased or incapacitated and unable to maintain his control over North Korea, experts pointed to Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, as his natural successor.
Although Kim Jong Un is, apparently, alive and well enough to make ceremonial visits to ammunition factories, his sister does appear to have stepped into a more important — and decisive — role in her brother’s government, and, on Saturday, issued her first violent threat to North Korea’s longtime archenemy, South Korea.
Fox News reports that Kim Yo Jong “took aim at the inter-Korean liaison office in the border town of Kaesong” in a missive on Saturday, “promising a ‘tragic scene'” for government officials if hostility between the two nations did not decline.
“By exercising my power authorized by the supreme leader, our party and the state, I gave an instruction to the arms of the department in charge of the affairs with [the] enemy to decisively carry out the next action,” Kim Yo Jong said in a statement to North Korea’s state-run media network. “Before long, a tragic scene of the useless North-South joint liaison office completely collapsed would be seen.”
Last week, activists dropped leaflets in North Korea accusing the Pyongyang government of ineptitude and the action angered North Korea so much, Kim Yo Jung issued a missive calling the activists and their supporters “human scum.”
South Korea says it is taking action to stop the leaflet drops and told the North Korean government that, if they are able to locate defectors, that they will prosecute. So far, though, South Korea’s government has mysteriously come up empty.
Kim Yo Jong, in addition to issuing specific threats to South Korea, also appears to have become the North Korean government’s chief mouthpiece on international relations. Chinese news outlets report that she has warned South Korea of increasing violence and a complete diplomatic break.
“I feel it is high time to surely break with the South Korean authorities. We will soon take a next action,” Kim Yo Jong said.
She did admit that she is leaving the final decision on the use of force to military leaders: “The right to taking the next action against the enemy will be entrusted to the General Staff of our army.”
When Kim Jong Un was reportedly incapacitated, a number of commentators expressed hopefulness that his sister, who is next in line to assume North Korea’s top office, would be a more productive and less violent leader than her brother, who has largely continued the aggressive, pro-Communist policies — and adopted the nuclear ambitions — of his father.
Clearly, there will be neither a peaceful transition of power nor much of a change in position in North Korea.
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