Kim Jong Un's sister rises in North Korea's hierarchy

SEOUL: The powerful younger sister of the North Korean leader has been reinstated to a key decision-making body, state media reported Sunday, marking her rise in the isolated nation.

Long, one of his brother's closest advisers, was again named alternate member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee in a reorganization of top officials on Saturday, according to the official Korean Central News Agency. The appointment decision meeting was chaired by Kim Jong Un, he added.

Analysts say Kim Yo Jong is believed to have been removed from office last year after the collapse of a second summit between her brother and United States President Donald Trump in Hanoi.

The restoration is part of Kim Yo Jong's recent rise into the northern hierarchy, Ahn Chan-il, a North Korean defector and researcher in Seoul, told AFP.

Kim Yo Jong acted as his brother's envoy to the south at the time of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, which ushered in a swift diplomatic rapprochement on the divided peninsula.

She has often been represented alongside him at summits with Trump or the President of the South, Moon Jae-in.

But he only began issuing statements of direct political importance under his own name last month, which analysts say highlights his central role in the North's political ranking.

He followed his appointment as first deputy director of the Central Committee department of the ruling Workers' Party, his leading role in the totalitarian state.

Ri Son Gwon, who was named the chief diplomat for the North in January, was also elected as an alternate member of the Political Bureau alongside Kim's sister.