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Kim Jong-un's sister reemerges after 52 days

Bernama

Published:  |  Modified:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's powerful younger sister has appeared in public for the first time in 52 days, contradicting rumours that she was disciplined in the wake of the leader's embarrassing no-deal summit with US President Donald Trump.

Kim Yo-Jong (above) was seen attending a propaganda group gymnastics and artistic performance in Pyongyang's May Day Stadium yesterday along with Jong-un, according to the Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

This marked the first time that Yo-jong has appeared in public since she was last seen in North Korean media during the Supreme People's Assembly in April.

The report came after rumors of a purge following a news report that Jong-un had punished officials responsible for the breakdown of a summit with US President Donald Trump and that Yo-jong was disciplined.

Adding to the rumors was her absence in the entourage of Jon Un's trip to Vladivostok in April for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. She is known for closely tagging along with Jon Yun on almost all of his overseas trips.

Some speculated that her disappearance from public view might have something to do with her health.

On Monday, North Korean media reported that Kim Yong-chol, who served as the chief interlocutor and counterpart of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, accompanied Jon Un to attend an artistic performance Sunday. He was also rumored to have been sentenced to hard labour in a remote region as punishment.

A unification ministry official in Seoul told reporters that Yong-chol seem to have retain post as a vice chairperson of the ruling party's central committee.

In April, Seoul's spy agency said that Kim Yong-chol had been replaced by Jang Kum-chol, an official little known to the outside, as the director of the United Front Department.

North Korea has yet to confirm the replacement. Yong-chol's possible replacement was seen as intended to hold him accountable for the February summit breakdown.

The Hanoi summit ended without producing a deal as Jong-un and Trump failed to find common ground over the scope of Pyongyang's denuclearisation steps and Washington's sanctions relief.

The KCNA reported that Jong-un strongly criticised the creators of the performance for "their wrong spirit of creation" and "irresponsible work attitude," pointing to its contents and forms of work.

"Noting that the creators and artists in the literature and art sector have a very important duty in socialist cultural construction, he (Jong-un)set forth important tasks for correctly implementing the revolutionary policy of our Party on literature and art," it said.

North Korean media earlier said that the propaganda group gymnastics and art performance will be held from early June to mid-October.

This involves tens of thousands of performers displaying acrobatics, gymnastics, dance and flip-card mosaic animations. It is mostly aimed at extolling its leaders and the socialist system. 

- Bernama

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