The Sister: Who is Kim Yo Jong, the Most Powerful Woman in North Korea?VIEW EVENT DETAILS
Book talk with Dr. Sung-Yoon Lee
Join us for a discussion of the opaque world of North Korean politics and the key elusive figure of Kim Yo Jong, the mysterious and influential sister of the current North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Who is she and how much power does she really hold in North Korea?
For the past three generations, the Kim dynasty has ruled North Korea, starting with Kim Il Sung, the “Great Leader,” then his son Kim Jong Il, the “Dear Leader,” and, for the past dozen years, the founder’s grandson Kim Jong Un, the “Great Successor.” Information about the Kim family is notoriously difficult to glean given the studied opacity of the regime. Even Kim Jong Un himself was largely an unknown figure until he was elevated to leadership in 2011. Similarly, very little was known about his sister — Kim Yo Jong — until she began to take more official roles and was rapidly elevated as her nation’s chief propagandist and policymaker. Soon after visiting South Korea for the Winter Olympics in February 2018, she accompanied her brother when he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and then U.S. President Donald Trump.
Dr. Sung-Yoon Lee, author of The Sister: North Korea's Kim Yo Jong, the Most Dangerous Woman in the World, is a noted North Korea expert who has served as an expert witness in the Otto Warmbier v. DPRK trial. This talk will explore Kim Yo Jong’s role in the North Korean hierarchy and how we should understand the current regime’s strategy, pathology, and vision for the future.
Dr. Sung-Yoon Lee is a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Previously, he taught Korean history at Tufts University. He has written on the politics of the Korean peninsula for numerous publications including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post. He has testified as an expert witness at the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee hearings on North Korea policy, and has advised senior leaders, including the President of the United States.