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Kim Jong Un’s Sister In US State Department Blacklist

International Business Times logo International Business Times 6 days ago Seerat Chabba

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The U.S. Department of State’s latest blacklist of North Korean officials includes a name that could be closer to the country’s supreme leader Kim Jong Un than the others -- his sister Kim Yo Jong.

Kim, identified as vice-director of the Workers’ Party of Korea Propaganda and Agitation Department (PAD), was one of the seven individuals and two entities blacklisted by the state department for human rights abuses or censorship Wednesday. The U.S. Department of Treasury has put the names on the list of individuals and groups whose U.S. assets are frozen and prohibited them from doing business in the country.

“The report represents a continuation of U.S. government efforts to name those responsible for or associated with the worst aspects of the North Korean government’s repression, including serious human rights abuses and censorship,” the State Department said in a press release.

“Human rights abuses in the DPRK remain among the worst in the world. The North Korean government continues to commit extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrest and detention, forced labor, and torture. Many of these abuses are committed in the political prison camps, where an estimated 80,000 to 120,000 individuals are detained, including children and family members of those subject to persecution and censorship. The systemic and oppressive nature of the North Korean government’s censorship and information denial remains omnipresent.”

According to a report published  by the department in February last year, Kim Yo Jong’s PAD controls all media in the country, “which the government uses to control the public.”

Kim Yo Jong was promoted to a position of vice-director in the Workers’ Party Central Committee in 2014 and showcased her increased importance in the North Korean hierarchy by sending several high-ranking party officials for “re-education,” a humiliating process for her elderly superiors, last September according to reports by  South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo.

Since her promotion, the editor-in-chief of the state-run Rodong Sinmun daily newspaper has been replaced twice.

Pyongyang’s supreme leader’s sister has been taking on more and more responsibility, including many daily duties, pushing wife Ri Sol Ju out of the limelight. Yo Jong has also been seen in public far more often than Kim’s wife.

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