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No clear proof Kim Jong-un's sister given new power: S. Korea Updated: 2019-07-09 16:14:42 KST

The South Korean government is not yet concluding that Kim Yo-jong has risen suddenly to a top spot in the North Korean state.

On Monday, a memorial was held at Pyeongyang Gymnasium to mark the 25th anniversary of the death of North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung, who was Kim Jong-un's grandfather.
Here, another of the founder's grandchildren, Kim Yo-jong, was four seats to the left of her brother, sitting in the very front row.
She was seated among ten of the regime's most powerful people, including senior officials in the ruling Workers' Party, Pak Pong-ju, Ri Man-gon and Ri Su-yong.
This was seen by some as a sign that Kim Yo-jong is now North Korea's ninth most powerful herself.

"She was seated among the Vice Chairmen of the party's central committee as well as its politicians, so it's possible that Kim Yo-jong's status has been raised from a candidate of the politburo to an actual member."

But, Seoul's unification ministry said Tuesday that it's too early to say for sure.
An anonymous ministry official told reporters that there's no evidence from the past that North Korean officials' seating arrangements really match their status.

He added that protocol changes depending on context, and Kim Yo-jong's seat might have been determined through some internal discussions.
So, Kim Yo-jong might have been in that seat because she's Kim Il-sung's granddaughter.
The view of the unification ministry is that Kim is still the first vice director of the Workers' Party's Propaganda and Agitation Department.

Still, it's understood that Kim Yo-jong does wield more power than she used to.
Late last month, Lee Hye-hoon, the head of the Intelligence Committee at South Korea's National Assembly told reporters that the national intelligence agency sees Kim Yo-jong as having higher status now.
And her previous role -- arranging events -- has passed to the former pop star Hyon Song-wol.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.
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