The women who surround Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s top leader, have the highest exposure rates are their younger sister Kim Yo-jung, his wife Li Xuezhu, and his subordinate Xuan Songyue.
However, it is not surprising that Xuan Songyue occupied a place in North Korean politics as a government official. And as the closest family members of Jin Zhengzheng and Jin Xuezheng, what’s the difference between their political roles?
North Korea’s “princess” status is changing
The outside world initially interpreted Jin Hezheng as “the first secretary of Kim Jong Un.” According to the Korean Ministry of Unification, “Kim and Jeong are playing a role of supporting and acting alongside Kim Jong-un.” A report on February 9, 2018 in the “Central Daily” also mentioned that Kim and Jeong-jung used to be the assistant most trusted by Kim Jong-un. As the “secretary director”, Kim Yoo Jung is indeed very competent.
“Central Daily” reported on September 24, 2018 that Jin Yuzheng ran around the airport to welcome Wen Zaiyin and his wife to visit North Korea. They checked various work preparations, instructed the staff to lay a red carpet, and helped the masses to donate. Wen Zaiyin’s bouquet and guide her. Japan ’s NHK TV station captured Kim ’s smoking image on February 26, 2019. At that time, Kim and Forehand held an ashtray and waited for Kim Jong-un to throw away his cigarette butt. In addition, when Kim Jong-un met with leaders of other countries, he often saw pictures of Kim and Zheng opening a seat for Kim Jong-un and handing in a signature pen, and he seemed to be a qualified “housekeeper”.
But obviously, Kim Yo-jung is not just as simple as Secretary Kim Jong-un. She is the first member of the Kim family of the “Whitehead Mountain Lineage” who set foot on Korean soil. While Kim Jong-un conferred her honor, she also hoped that Kim and Zheng could become his ” Spokesperson. “
Former South Korean Ministry of Unification officials pointed out that “Kim and Jung have officially begun to do practical support work with Kim Jong-un” and “during his visit to Korea, he can almost be called Kim Jong-un’s agent.”
“If there is an event that Kim Jong-un was not able to attend, Kim Yoo-jung will be the one attending the event,” said Yang Wuren, a professor at the Korea Studies University in Seoul, South Korea. The British “Guardian” also predicted that if Kim Jong-un is in an accident, it is Kim Yu-jung who is most likely to succeed him in managing the country.
There are even rumors that Kim Jong-il told the Russian ambassador to North Korea that his sons are all “lazy fools”. He feels that his daughter has the wisdom and personality to be a “reliable successor.” In 2008, Kim Jong Il’s health deteriorated. When the main succession plan began, he had reserved a place for Kim Jong Il, who might have been Kim Jong Il’s successor candidate.
“First Lady” clearly positioned
Compared to Kim and Jung, the role of Li Xuezhu is slightly single, that is, the “national mother” of North Korea and the “wife” of Kim Jong-un, which is more symbolic.
Since Li Xuezhu has never held any post, the outside world can only speculate whether the status of Li Xuezhu has changed from the words of the Korean media. Among them, how North Korean media called Li Xuezhu became the focus of attention.
The British “Daily Mail” reported on April 18, 2018 that the Korean Central News Agency used the title “Ms.” when reporting on Li Xuezhu, and everyone else, including Jin and Zhengzheng, were “comrades.” On July 26, the Korean Central News Agency changed Li Xuezhu’s title from “Ms.” to “Comrade” again, and outside speculation was behind Jin Zhengen’s thoughtfulness.
The “Central Daily” believes that “Ms.” is more of a ceremonial title used in diplomatic activities, which is conducive to Li Xuezhu’s “First Lady Diplomacy” when he visits South Korea and China with Kim Jong-un. “Comrade” is to increase the general public’s affection for Li Xuezhu.
North Korea hopes that Li Xuezhu can show her close husband and wife relationship with Kim Jong-un. Li Xuezhang will call Kim Jong-un as “my husband” in diplomatic situations, and when the special envoy Han advised Kim Jong-un to quit smoking, he said, “I also advise him, but he does not listen. mine”.
The Yonhap News Agency reported on December 6, 2019 that it also noticed that when “Korean Central News Agency” reported on the 4th that Kim Jong-un and Li Xuezhu and others went to Baekdusan, the move of Li Xuezhu to put his hands on Kim Jong-un’s shoulders was also disclosed by the KCNA . In addition, North Korean official media have also published photos of Li Xuezhu holding Kim Jong-un’s arms and smiling at each other, which was absolutely invisible to the former North Korean leader during his administration.
Different from the image of gold and positive black dress and plain suit, Li Xuezhu’s dress is full of femininity. The New York Times reported on February 13, 2018 that Jin Yuzheng’s light makeup, simplicity, and even some old-fashioned dress, contrasted sharply with her fashionable sister-in-law Li Xuezhu.
The two are similar in age and seem to have a good relationship, but the media agreed that it was actually Jin Yuzheng who led Li Xuezhu as the “sister”. In the politics of North Korea, who plays the most important role? Maybe he still inherits Jin Yuzheng of “Baidushan Bloodlines”.
It is not realistic to rely on women to create a normal country image
The media generally believes that Kim Yung Jung and Li Xuezhu have very different roles. Kim Yuzheng represents North Korean politicians, and Li Xuezhu represents Wen Run’s “First Lady”. Kim Yongzheng can undoubtedly play a more important role in North Korean politics. .
And the outside world ’s level of understanding of North Korea is not as specific as that of other countries. For example, in the process of resolving differences with North Korea, a large country such as the United States will also cause diplomacy to fail because it “does not understand the other ’s government”. This is not surprising, and it is precisely because of this, that Jin Yuzheng, as an important channel for the outside world to understand North Korea, obviously needs more attention.
On the one hand, Kim Jong-un needs to build the glorious image of the Kim family, and on the other hand, he needs to establish the image of North Korea as a normal country. However, only by his own changes in clothing and office layout, obviously cannot convince the outside world. Therefore, Kim Jong-un first pushed Kim and Jung to the world, hoping to use “fashion diplomacy” and “kinship diplomacy” to downplay the image of the “dictator” left by the North Korean leader to the outside world and to shape his affable young leader.
This can also be referred to North Korea’s image positioning of Li Xuezhu. Li Xuezhu was once called “comrade” by the Korean media, but later Kim Jong-un wanted to be in line with international standards. Li Xuezhu transformed into a “first lady” who no longer has political power.
But in essence, the strategy of using a woman’s affinity to shape the image of a normal country in North Korea is itself “abnormal.” In contrast, North Korea ’s April 2019 amendment to its constitution stipulated that the state council ’s “representative of the country” and Kim Jong-un ’s legal status as head of state are even more profound.