The latest purge in North Korea -- in which the Kim regime executed the Supreme Leader’s own uncle -- drew headlines around the world. Now the media is asking another question: where’s Kim Jong Un's aunt?
North Korea's military and political elite lined up in formation to swear fealty to its leader Kim Jong-un today as observers studied the position of top aides to see who survived the recent purge of Kim's uncle.
Kim's paternal aunt Kim Kyong-hui was not present at any of the events after her husband Jang Song-thaek, known to have been North Korea's second most powerful man, was suddenly purged and executed last week.
The aunt was reportedly in favor of her husband's ouster from the government. Jang has been charged of alleged drug abuse, womanizing, and treason by attempting to create his own powerbase within the regime.
"With Jang now out of the picture, North Korea is ready and set to go to start assembling people behind Kim Jong-un's sole and only leadership," said Park Chang-kwon, senior research fellow at Korea Institute for Defense Analyses in Seoul.
The Daily Mail reported two days ago that Kim’s aunt survived the public purging. She also reportedly stayed loyal to her nephew, despite her husband’s apparent treasonous machinations. Now she’s suddenly and mysteriously turned up missing? That can’t be good.
The truth is that Kim Kyong Hui is one of the few female leaders ever to be photographed with North Korea’s military brass, or displayed in state-sponsored propaganda photos. She was reportedly actively involved in the transition after the Dear Leader passed away in 2011, helping her nephew consolidate power soon after his death. However, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the regime simply executed her because of her close ties to her husband, a convicted traitor and usurper. In a state like North Korea, death is ubiquitous and the slightest hint of insubordination could have life-altering consequences.
We'll see if she turns up.