North Korea's Kim Jong Un Promotes Himself, Throws Sister Kim Yo Jong Out of Politburo

Kim Yo Jong's removal from the Politburo proves once again that North Korea is run by a single person, rather than any codified system.

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North Korea's ruler Kim Jong Un has promoted himself with a new title and removed his sister Kim Yo Jong from the country's inner circle of powerful elites, according to state media. According to reports, Kim Jong Un promoted himself to the position of general secretary from chairman on the sixth day of a rare Workers' Party Congress meeting.

The position of general secretary was earlier held by Kim Jong Un's late father and grandfather. That said, the Workers' Party politburo raised questions after they found Kim Yo Jong's name was missing from a new list of the Politburo, the party's top decision-making body. It is being assumed that Kim Jong Un decided to demote her for reasons unknown.

Absolute Powers

Kim Jong Un
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hosts military meeting Twitter

The Workers' Party held elections for its Central Committee at a congress on Sunday but Kim Yo Jong's name was surprisingly missing from the list of the Politburo. The committee looks into the diplomatic, military and economic policy goals for a period of five years. Although Kim Yo Jong remains in the committee, her name wasn't among the elites who govern the country, which is being assume as an apparent demotion from her prior standing as an alternative member.

North Korea's state media has described Kim Jong Un's new title as "the brain of revolution." The congress "fully approved" proposal to promote Kim Jong to the position it called "top brain of the revolution" and "centre of the leadership and the unity," KCNA reported. To put it in simple words, Kim Jong Un's control over the cloistered regime continues to remain absolute like it has been for years now.

Kim Yo Jong was announced as Kim Jong Un's second-in-command and was given the responsibility to shape policies towards Seoul and Washington in August 2020. At that time it had also sparked rumors that Kim Jong Un may be unwell and is gradually passing on his powers to his sister. However, that doesn't seem to be the case now. The absence of her name from the new list of ruling sent out mixed signals to observers of the regime. At the same time her demotion proves that her brother doesn't believe in sharing power with others.

Surprising Move

Kim Yo Jong
Twitter/Scott Dawson

Kim Yo Jong's removal from the Politburo reinforces that North Korea is run by a single person, rather than any codified system or set of rules, Park Won-gon, an international studies professor at South Korea's Handong Global University told the Wall Street Journal.

Kim Yo Jong had gained immense popularity within the inner circles of the regime since she was chosen second-in-command to her brother. She is the second woman to join the exclusive politburo after her aunt Kim Kyong Hui.

However, the absolute powers always remained with Kim Jong Un and he now becomes even more powerful by cementing his position as the country's supreme leader after getting elected as the party's general secretary, a position previously held by his late father Kim Jong II. With the new title as the general secretary, he has now officially joined the ranks of his father and grandfather.