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Kim Jong Un’s female relatives out of sight

Posted April. 16, 2013 07:42,   


Kim Kyung Hee, secretary of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, failed to attend a memorial ceremony for the Day of the Sun on Monday, which was held at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to mark the 101st birthday of the nation’s founder Kim Il Sung. The place is the site where the bodies of Kim and his son, the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, are kept. It means that Kim Kyung Hee, the daughter of Kim Il Sung, did not attend an event meant to pay respect to her own father’s body.

Kim Kyung Hee, the younger sister of the late Kim Jong Il and aunt of incumbent North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attended last year’s memorial event on the Day of the Sun. The North’s official Korean Central News Agency reported Monday that its leader Kim Jong Un attended the memorial event accompanied by Choe Ryong Hae, chief of the military’s general politburo, and Jang Sung Taek, vice chairman of the National Defense Commission.

Health problem is cited as the most probable reason for Kim Kyung Hee’s absence at the ceremony. Having troubled with alcohol addiction in the past, she is reportedly suffering from cardiovascular disease. She used to show up to demonstrate her presence whenever news reports were filed to suggest that she is critically ill and cannot freely move. She made her last public appearance at the national convention of light industries, which was presided by the nation`s leader on March 18. If she dies, the young leader with insufficient experience as ruler will end up losing his strongest supporter and close relative that he has been fully relying on.

Kim Yo Jong, the leader’s younger sister, has made a very rare public appearance for nearly two years as well. Her last appearance in public was made at Kim Jong Il`s funeral in December 2011. She was absent at major national events such as the first anniversary event of his father’s death last year and the Day of the Sun for two consecutive years. Though pictured remotely in a news report on an event where Kim Jong Un attended last year, she has not attended at official events.

In November last year, Kim Yo Jong was pictured riding horse at a news coverage on Kim Jong Un’s inspection visit to the training site of horseback riding battalion, directly under the Korean People’s Army Unit 534. It was the first time that Kim Yo Jong singlehandedly appeared in North Korean state media. At the time, Kim Kyung Hee, who was rumored to suffer from ill health, also looked happy as she was seen enjoying horseback riding, demonstrating her solid presence. "Members of the Kim family are people enjoying special privilege in North Korea,” a South Korean government source said. “Even if they are not reported in official media, they could be considered as being engaged in official duty.”

The source added that there are some news reports suggesting Kim Sol Song, a daughter to Kim Jong Il and his first wife Kim Yong Suk, is power elite in the North, which has yet to be identified by the South Korean authorities.