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North Korea: Kim Jong Un gets new second-in-command

Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong might not be considered for the role

north-korea-kim-jong-un-covid-AP North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, presides over an executive policy council meeting at the ruling Workers Party in Pyongyang, North Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020 | AP

As per revised party rules, North Korea has created a position for a second-in-command after Kim Jong Un, as per revised rules of the Worker’s Party of Korea. Jo Yong-won, a close aide of Jong-un has been named first secretary, sources close to the party report. It is yet unclear as to who has been selected for the position.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency, on Tuesday, reported that the ruling Workers’ Party in January added a paragraph to rules of the party, which mandates the Central Committee elect the “first secretary — who will be in charge after Mr Kim”.

The second in command will be able to preside over “key party meetings on behalf of the leader.” 

Rachel Minyoung Lee, a fellow with 38 North, a US-based programme that monitors North Korea, told Reuters, “This seems to be the broader trend of North Korea delegating and redistributing some of Kim Jong Un's duties to others, not necessarily his powers, and streamlining the party leadership structure.”

Another person who could be considered for the position is Kim Tok Hun, who is serving as premier of the nation. Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong might not be considered for the role, as she does not have a high ranking in the party, experts say, even though Kim Jong Un may have trusted her with several ‘key responsibilities’.

The second in command would take over should Kim Jong-un die or become incapacitated. 

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