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

All News 17:50 August 20, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 20 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has delegated part of his authority to his close aides, including younger sister Yo-jong, to have them oversee state affairs, South Korea's spy agency said Thursday.

"Currently, Kim Yo-jong, the first vice department director of the Workers' Party Central Committee, is steering overall state affairs based on the delegation," the National Intelligence Service was quoted as saying in a closed-door briefing to the National Assembly by lawmakers.

The power shift partly aims to "relieve (Kim's) stress from his reign and avert culpability in the event of policy failure," the agency said.

"Chairman Kim Jong-un is still maintaining his absolute authority, but some of it has been handed over little by little," the agency said. It said, however, that this does not mean the leader has selected a successor.

According to the NIS, Yo-jong has assumed the majority of the authority delegated by the national leader, but she is not the only one who has shared power with him.

Pak Pong-ju, vice chairman of the State Affairs Commission, and the new premier Kim Tok-hun have taken over power in controlling the economic sector, it added.

The NIS also said the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex is not currently in operation.

It also noted that the North Korean army's summertime military exercises have been slashed by 25 to 65 percent from the past.

Park Jie-won, the director of the National Intelligence Service, and other agency officials attend a parliamentary session on Aug. 20, 2020. (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr
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