Kim Jong-un’s sister was removed from the list of the executive committee of the governing Workers' Party following the recent elections, the Daily Mail reported, citing North Korea’s state-run media the KCNA. According to the newspaper, Kim Yo-jong’s name was absent from the list of members of the Politburo following the recent party elections, which raises questions about her status.
The news comes days before Kim Yo-jong was to take the leadership podium at the governing party’s congress.
In August, South Korean intelligence said Kim Jong-un’s sister was "de-facto second-in-command" of North Korea, while some experts suggested that the woman held a position powerful enough to potentially enable her to displace her brother. It is believed that the unexpected escalation of tensions between North and South Korea was the result of Kim Yo-jong being put in charge of relations with Seoul.
Commenting on the news, Lim Eul-chul, a professor of North Korean studies at Kyungnam University in Seoul, said it is too early to draw conclusions about the future of Kim Yo-jong.
"She is still a Central Committee member and there's a possibility that she has taken up other important posts", Lim Eul-chul said.
Michael Madden, an expert on North Korea at the Stimson Center, said Kim Yo-jong remains an influential figure in the government regardless of whether her name is on the list of the Workers' Party's executive committee or not.
"We have become accustomed to seeing her in a more public role, but Kim Yo Jong's political roots and her formative career experience are behind the scenes, not sitting on a platform listening to speeches", he said.