Before the rumour was quashed some believed North Korea’s Supreme Leader had died due to his poor health. His sister has become a much more visible figure in the hermit state and may well take over from her brother if he dies and his children are too young. She had threatened to destroy the liaison office prior to the attack on the border city of Kaesong and has encouraged the military to take action in the demilitarised zone.
In a blow to inter-Korean relations, she also claimed it was now time to break with South Korean authorities prior to the attack.
Outside of Kim, his sister wields a vast amount of power in the country and is the Vice President of United Front Department in the ruling Workers’ Party and an alternate member of the state’s Politburo.
However, in North Korea, future leaders must build credentials as someone who can challenge South Korea and the US – something she is said to have begun to do.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Dr Sojin Lim, senior lecturer in North Korean studies at the University of Central Lancashire insisted the potential leader could be a much more authoritarian leader than her brother.
She said: “If she becomes a successor in the near future, it’s likely that we will see a harsher domestic purge as she attempts to gain respect and carve out her position as a strong female leader.
“In North Korea, leaders are successful if they’re able to reinforce their power in three ways – people, party and military.
“As a propaganda leader, Kim Yo-Jong already has the power of people, and with her recent promotion, she now also has a power within the party.
“Until recently, there have been doubts about how much power she could develop with the military.
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She said: “North Korea’s decision to destroy the liaison office sends a strong message to South Korea.
“It is calling for them to take steps to ease current sanctions, but this isn’t something the South have the power to do.
“With the US facing a number of troubles at the moment, it’s unlikely that Donald Trump will pay attention to this latest action, despite North Korea’s attempts.”
Although South Korea has insisted it will strike back after this latest attack, the government did send envoys to pacify relations.
The South also hoped that an agreement from 2018 in Pyongyang can be honoured.
The defence ministry said: “It is our basic stance that the 19 September military agreement should be complied with without fail to establish peace on the Korean Peninsula and to prevent accidental clashes.”
In stark contrast, Kim’s sister said the South’s ties to the US still make any agreement impossible.