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North Korea Could Have A Woman Leader Before The US, If Kim Jong-Un Dies

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There are a lot of rumors going around about Kim Jong-Un’s death on the internet. It’s really uncertain at this point. This is because the South Korean government says he’s fine, but the West smells something fishy. However, it’s also important to know who will lead North Korea if he is dead. And it looks like it will be his sister, Kim Yo Jong, and that would mean North Korea will have a woman leader before the US!

Can a woman succeed Kim Jong-Un as the leader of North Korea?

Successions in ruthless dictatorships are not as simple as in a democracy. A lot of things can and do go wrong. Power vacuums form, and if there are competing power groups in the same country, then it can lead to civil war. That is what happened in Iraq, Libya, and other such countries. However, North Korea isn’t like these countries and the Kim family is revered as Gods. And it is likely his sister, Kim Yo Jong will succeed him as Supreme Leader of North Korea. But, it’s never as straight forward.

Who is Kim Yo Jong?

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Apart from being Kim Jong-Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong has a very strong profile in North Korea. Officially, she is the Vice Director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department. It might sound weird, but this is the agency that is responsible for censorship and propaganda in all of North Korea. And for dictatorial regimes like that of North Korea and the Kim family, censorship and propaganda is its opium. Harry J. Kazianis, director at an American Think Tank told the TIMES:

She is, as best we can tell, a very capable and high-skilled member of the North Korean leadership—and is not one to be underestimated by any stretch of the imagination.

But, she also happens to be a close and trusted ally of Kim Jong-Un. That is why she holds such a key position in the regime. She was born and raised in Pyongyang but may have spent 4 years of her schooling in Switzerland. This is something very common for members of the Kim dynasty, including Kim Jong-Un himself.

North Korea Could Have A Woman Leader Before The US, If Kim Jong-Un Dies
Kim Yo Jong at the South Korean Winter Olympics ceremony (Top right corner) | Wikipedia

She’s married to Choe Song, who is the son of Choe Ryong Hae, a powerful official in the North Korean hierarchy. She rose to prominence after her father Kim Jong-Il’s death in 2011. But, she gained a lot of international recognition after her appearance at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. However, it’s not easy for everything to fall in place for Yo Jong just yet.

Will North Korea have a woman as a leader?

Well, the answer to that as always isn’t simple. Apart from her pedigree, the best thing she has going for her is her family name. The Kim family is revered as Gods in North Korea, and Kim Jong-Un and his fathers have enjoyed that status since 1948. This will force people to place a lot of bets on her succeeding her brother. However, it’s never as simple. Because North Korea is still largely patriarchal. And above all, there will be competing factions in the party if Kim Jong-Un really is dead, which will make the power struggle very tough for Yo Jong.

Other than Kim Yo Jong, her father-in-law Choe Ryong Haer can also be a successor. And so can her uncle, Kim Pyong-Il, who has served as a diplomat for 40 years, but is very popular because of his resemblance to the founder of North Korea and her grandfather, Kim Il Sung.

But, the most important thing in North Korea is the name of the Kim family. Gender only comes second to them, which is why Kim Yo Jong has a better chance than all these mentioned to be the successor to Kim Jong-Un. Jung-Chul Lee, a professor at Soongsil University, says:

What is important in [North Korea] is not whether the successor is a male of a female, but whether the successor is [from the Kim bloodline]

North Korea can have a woman as a leader before the US

If Kim Jong-Un is dead, then it is highly likely that Kim Yo Jong will be his successor. Thus, giving North Korea the title of having a female leader before the United States itself. Only in the last elections could a woman win the nomination to a major party in the United States, and that was Hillary Clinton. This year, it was back to the same old same old, as the most promising candidate, Elizabeth Warren, had to call it quits.

Now, the race is in the hands of former Vice-President Joe Biden, who is the only chance for the democrats to beat Donald Trump in the upcoming 2020 elections. But, Biden has announced that he will appoint a woman as the Vice President if he wins. If that’s so, then it’ll save some face for the US if North Korea gets Kim Yo Jong as their Supreme Leader. We’re really eager to see how things unfold!

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