Kim Jong Un’s glamorous former pop star lover has been showing up recently at the North Korean despot’s side – sparking speculation she has usurped his sister while his wife keeps a low profile, according to a report.
Hyon Song Wol – the 43-year-old who fronts the Moranbong Band, which has been likened to the Spice Girls of the Hermit Kingdom – has apparently assumed some of the duties performed by Kim’s powerful younger sister Kim Yo Jong, the Times of London reports.
The 32-year-old rose to prominence earlier this year and was even reported to be in line to succeed the Rocketman if he died or was too sick too sick to lead the rogue regime.
But as her spotlight has dimmed of late, Kim’s wife Ri Sol Ju, 31, a former singer and cheerleader, also has not been seen in public for a long time.
“The positive theory is that the leader grew up and is becoming more independent than before,” South Korean journalist Wang Son-taek, wrote on the NK News website, the Times reported.
“This would mean that Kim Yo Jong is now on the right track towards her own leadership-building path and is strongly supported by her brother,” he added.
“A more negative theory is that Kim Jong Un is disappointed in his sister, whom he has relied on a lot emotionally. This would no doubt spell psychological trouble within the Kim family.”
During the massive Oct. 10 military parade marking the 75th anniversary of the Workers’ Party of Korea, Hyon was seen guiding dignitaries to their seats, grabbing flowers handed to Kim and stand behind him as he addressed the masses.
These were the kinds of duties previously performed by Kim’s sister, who sat several feet away from him, among lesser VIPs, during the grandiose event – and state TV cameras showed her face only once during the three-hour broadcast of the parade, according to the Times.
Hyon — whose band features women performing in low-cut outfits and quasi-military uniforms — in 2018 was a key member of the team that successfully negotiated the country’s last-minute participation in the South Korean winter Olympics.
Earlier this year, it was Kim’s sister who appeared closer to the supreme leader.
In June, she was the one who warned about possible military action and breaking relations between Pyongyang and Seoul amid a period of tension.
But besides her brief appearance at the parade and another one earlier this month, Kim Yo Jong has not been seen since July, according to the outlet.
Despite the rotating female influences, there is no indication that any of the women are in peril, according to the Times, which noted that Kim’s wife has vanished from public view before.
Hyon is a good example of how rumors and speculation fill in the gaps created by the lack of hard information from Pyongyang.
In 2013, a South Korean news outlet reported that she had been gunned down for selling pornographic tapes featuring her and her fellow performers.
But she emerged soon after and gained prominence in the ruler’s inner circle.
“Churn is … part of the political process under Kim,” Peter Ward, a Seoul-based researcher on North Korea told the Times.
“People rise to prominence, then they disappear or become less prominent for no apparent reason, and then they may rise again. Any or all of these women may be at different stages for no apparently important reason, and none appear likely to end up in very serious trouble any time soon,” he added.
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