We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.
Kim Jong-un rose to power in North Korea back in 2011 after his father Kim Jong-il died of a heart attack. The current ruler is the third of the Kim dynasty to lead the extremely private nation that was founded in 1948. Life inside the dictatorial regime remains a closely guarded secret and details typically only emerge from defectors’ candid accounts. Even when Kim Jong-un was proclaimed “almost certainly” dead in April, the hermit state kept quiet and did nothing to confirm or deny the claims. At that time, speculation was rife as experts poured over footage and photographs of the leader and tried to work out who could be his successor. It was believed that Kim Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong could be the heir due to cryptic clues shown in carefully constructed releases from the state. One expert Chris Mikul posed his theories to Express.co.uk, where he discussed her potential claim to power and the likelihood of it happening.
Chris Mikul, who penned ‘My Favourite Dictators’ last year, wrote extensively about the North Korean regime and the Kims – the nation’s equivalent of a first family.
He explained that the state’s founder Kim Il-sung is “essentially considered to be a god” and other leaders have struggled to live up to his legendary mythology.
Bizarre lies have been pedalled about him, including that he could turn “pinecones into bullets” and “grains of sand into rice” – as well as having crossed a river on fallen leaves.
Even when Kim Jong-un took the reins in 2011, aged between 29 and 31, some thought he would struggle because he was “too young”.
Mr Mikul claimed the leader “proved himself a pretty tough guy and consolidated his rule” but if his sister Kim Yo-jong was to take over she would face more adversity.
He told Express.co.uk: “I sort of thought it would be a step too far for her to take over, but then again you don’t know.
“It’s a fairly sexist and patriarchal society, if she was his brother it wouldn’t be an issue.
“He appears to identify her as his left hand woman, but a little while ago she disappeared from view and it was thought she was out of favour until she reappeared again.
“People often go in and out of favour leading many to think a person has been killed only for them to appear at a meeting.”
One thing that could point to her influence is the position she holds within the regime – which could be a nod to her having a great claim to power.
Currently, she is directing the Propaganda and Agitation Department, a highly important body that disseminates extremely selective and censored information to the nation.
Under the nation’s founder Kim Il-sung, this role was held by Kim Jong-il – the current leader’s father – and he used his power there to usurp his brothers.
JUST IN: Kim Jong-un: Why death of North Korea’s dictator could spell disaster
Mr Mikul explained that he was able to demonstrate himself as his father’s “most loyal follower” and created films that bolstered his succession claim.
Recently, during Kim Jong-un’s unexplained absences in April and May, she appeared to step-in for her brother and made announcements on his behalf.
This is an unprecedented move in North Korea’s near-72 year history – which could also suggest she is gearing up to rule.
She also represented the nation at the 2018 Winter Olympics and publicly praised US President Donald Trump, which were considered very unusual moves.
North Korea: How poet who defected exposed ‘biggest crimes’ [EXCLUSIVE]
North Korea fury: China’s outrage with Kim Jong-un’s state exposed [EXCLUSIVE]
North Korea: Why Kim Jong-un state defector refused to be be quiet [EXCLUSIVE]
It was also claimed that she was decorated with similar jewellery, clothing and accessories to her brother in photographs – which could indicate her being seen as equal to Kim Jong-un.
Despite the potential indications that she could be the future leader of North Korea, Mr Mikul remains sceptical about her chances because she is a woman.
He told Express.co.uk: “I can’t think of any other woman who has had any role in politics in North Korea since it began, which gives us something to ponder about.
“I don’t know anyone who has spoken on behalf of any of the Kims until it happened either, so it’s unusual.
“North Korea will always be a rollercoaster, maybe a little less so than when Kim Jong-il was around as he was a wild and crazy guy.”
Source: Read Full Article