Kim Jong-Un Reportedly In Coma As Sister Kim Yo-Jong Handed More Power

by : Julia Banim on : 24 Aug 2020 08:29

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has reportedly delegated some of his responsibilities to younger sister Kim Yo-jong, as well as to some of his closest aides, amid rumours he is in a coma.

If reports are true, Kim Yo-jong, who is believed to be in her early 30s, will now be helping to run the secretive regime alongside her brother, responsible for the delicate task of handling relations with South Korea and the US.


Former South Korean diplomat Chang Song-min has alleged Kim Jong-un has slipped into a coma, claiming to have received this information from a source in China. However, this claim has not been confirmed, with any information regarding the Hermit Kingdom being notoriously tricky to verify.

Kim Yo-jongPA Images

Speaking with South Korean news outlets, Chang Song-min said:

I assess him to be in a coma, but his life has not ended. A complete succession structure has not been formed, so Kim Yo-jong is being brought to the fore as the vacuum cannot be maintained for a prolonged period.


However, as per The Korea Herald, experts from the National Intelligence Service (NIS) have stated this alleged shift of responsibilities could well be a ‘show of confidence’ as opposed to a sign of any health issues.

Following a closed door briefing, MP Ha Tae-keung, who is part of South Korea’s national assembly’s intelligence committee, said:

The bottom line is that Kim Jong-un still holds absolute power but has turned over a bit more of his authority compared to the past. Kim Yo-jong is the de facto second-in-command.

Kim Jong-unPA Images

Ha Tae-keung speculated that Kim Jong-un was giving his sister some extra power as a way to ‘ease his stress’ as well as to ‘avert culpability in the event of policy failure’.

However, he emphasised that there was no indication the decision had been made on account of Kim Jong-un’s alleged poor health, or that Kim Yo-jong had been chosen as his successor.

As per The Korea Herald, the idea that this move was a ‘show of confidence’ has been echoed by other experts, including Yang Moo-jin, professor of North Korean Studies in Seoul, who stated:

North Korea is a country under a one and only leadership system, and Kim is in still in charge. The move could be seen as part of Kim Jong-un’s political management tactics, by granting authority and responsibilities to officials in the areas of economic, social, military and foreign affairs.

This shows that Kim has a grip on power in the country and his system is stabilized. If he didn’t have confidence, how could he ever assign responsibilities to others?

Kim Jong-unPA Images

Reports claim Kim Yo-jong isn’t the only high-profile individual to be granted new powers. Pak Pong-ju, vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission, and new premier, Kim Tok-hun, will allegedy be overseeing economic policies.

Meanwhile, Choe Pu-il, who in charge of military affairs for the party’s Central Committee, and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission, Ri Pyong-chol, will now reportedly be overseeing military affairs.

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Julia Banim

Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.

Topics: News, Kim Jong-un, North Korea, Now


Yonhap News Agency and 1 other
  1. Yonhap News Agency

    Kim Jong-un partly delegated authority to sister: spy agency

  2. The Korea Herald

    [Breaking] North Korea partly ruled by leader’s sister Kim Yo-jong: NIS