Conflicting news has surfaced around North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un's health. If one goes by the American press, then the leader is battling for his life. South Korean press has largely downplayed the issue, while the North Korean media, which springs into action on any news about its leader, has remained completely mum.
Although no one, other than a small group of North Korean ruling elite, actually knows about the true condition of Kim's health, the buzz around his apparent successors has also started surfacing. Kim Yo Jong -- the 36-year-old dictator's younger sister, is widely touted as his heir apparent.
Who is Kim Yo Jong?
Born in 1988, Kim Yo Jong is the youngest of the five children of former North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. She is the daughter of Kim Jong-il's mistress Ko Yong-hui, also the mother of Kim Jong-un.
At the age of nine, she went to Berne, Switzerland, to complete her elementary schooling, where she lived with her elder brother Kim Jong-un. She returned to her country in 2002 and in 2007, she graduated from Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang with a computer science degree.
She then joined politics and remained a close aide to her father, until his death in 2011 and later his brother. As a part of the ruling party's powerful politburo, she was a part of her brother's two summits with the US President Donald Trump, at Singapore in 2018 and Vietnam in 2019.
She fell apart from her brother, when he blamed the failure of the 2019 US summit, on her. Although she was expelled from the ruling party's politburo, she was reinstated, this month, Guardian reported.
In March, she called South Korea a "frightened barking dog", after it called out the North's nuclear programme, Telegraph reported. She was present during her brother's meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping. She was her brother's envoy to the South, during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Is she the next North Korean Supreme Leader?
Although she is known both domestically and internationally, the North Korean political system is still old-fashioned and patriarchal. The country has never seen a woman leader and to see one in the future, is still uncertain.
Although, she is related to the present leader and the manner in which she is projected, as her brother's closest aide, does give rise to speculations that she could be the next North Korean 'dictator'.