Review: Kim Jong Un’s mysterious little sister

The enigmatic Kim Yo Jong may become the dictatorship’s first female Supreme Leader, but ‘The Sister’ tells us nothing new about her, writes Anna Fifield.

The World Today Published 2 June 2023 Updated 8 June 2023 4 minute READ

Anna Fifield

Asia-Pacific editor, The Washington Post

The Sister: The Extraordinary Story of Kim Yo Jong, the Most Powerful Woman in North Korea
Sung-Yoon Lee, Macmillan, £20 (published June 15)

The world has almost no idea what has been happening inside North Korea these past three-and-a-half years since the country turned into a hermit kingdom by closing its borders as a new coronavirus spread in neighbouring China. With no traders, diplomats, journalists or aid workers going in or out of the country, and with no defectors escaping from North to South, almost everything we know about North Korea since then, has come from the propagandists in Pyongyang.

The three females

Their pronouncements tend to concentrate on two issues: Kim Jong Un’s wise and beneficent leadership; and sharp threats and credible advances of North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. Woven through these reports have been three females.

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