Kim Jong Un’s younger sister married the son of one of North Korea’s most powerful officials last year, Yonhap News reported, citing two people in China it didn’t identify.
Kim Yo Jong, identified by official media for the first time in November as a deputy director of the ruling Workers’ Party, married the second son of party secretary Choe Ryong Hae, Yonhap cited one person as saying, identifying the son as Choe Song. A photo of Kim released by North Korean media this week showed her wearing a wedding ring, according to the report.
If true, the marriage would add to signs the Kim family is tightening its grip on power in North Korea, three years after the death of Kim Jong Il left control with the young and untested Kim Jong Un. The Supreme Leader has purged his way to absolute authority by executing officials, including his uncle and deputy Jang Song Thaek in December 2013.
Last year, Kim had about 10 senior party officials executed on charges including graft and watching South Korean soap operas, according to South Korean lawmakers who attended a briefing by the National Intelligence Service.
Choe’s 2013 meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing helped ease months of tension after North Korea’s third nuclear test in February of that year. Late last year he visited South Korea and then Russia as Kim Jong Un’s envoy, meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
North and South Korea have not held a summit between their leaders since 2007 and Kim has not met a foreign head of state since taking power in December 2011.
In his New Year speech Kim indicated he was open to a meeting with South Korean President Park Geun Hye, even as relations remain chilled by his pursuit of a nuclear arsenal.
“There is no reason why the highest-level talks cannot be held, depending on the mood and environment,” Kim said in the speech broadcast yesterday on the Internet. “If South Korea truly wants talks and improvement in relations, the suspended high-level contact can resume and talks on specific matters can also be held.”