Seven others were promoted alongside her as part of a shake-up of the SAC, though Kim Yo Jong was the only woman. Nine members were retired or demoted, including 82-year-old Pak Pong Ju, Kim Jong Un’s economic policymaker for the past decade.
Resumption of communication line
News of Kim Yo Jong’s promotion came after Kim Jong Un told the country’s rubber-stamp legislative assembly on Wednesday that he would restore discontinued communication lines with the South in early October, KCNA reported.
The lines are considered important because they can help prevent an accidental military confrontation caused by misinterpreting or miscalculating the other side’s action or intention.
In response, South Korea’s government said it will begin preparations and looks forward to the “restoration and stable management” of inter-Korean communications, according to the Unification Ministry.
Why is Kim Yo Jong’s promotion significant?
In 2020, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers she had been put in charge of relations with the South and the United States.
Last week, Kim Yo Jong demanded the South make “the correct choice” if it genuinely wants reconciliation and development in inter-Korean relations, including another summit. She also warned the US and South Korea to stop their “hostile” policy against North Korea, before discussions can resume on a proposal by the South Korean President to declare an end to the war between the North and South.
But Kim Yo Jong’s rise to the top has not been smooth.
Earlier this year, she was removed as an alternate member from North Korea’s powerful politburo and demoted from “first vice department director” to “vice department director.”
CNN’s Joshua Berlinger contributed reporting.