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North Korea likely to promote Kim Yo Jong at Party Congress

North Korea likely to promote Kim Yo Jong at Party Congress
Kim Yo Jong's profile has grown in 2020 following the demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong. File Photo by KCNA

Nov. 3 (UPI) -- North Korea's Kim Yo Jong is becoming increasingly influential in state affairs and could be appointed to a higher position of power at Pyongyang's Eighth Party Congress in January.

South Korea's National Intelligence Service said Tuesday the younger sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has the potential to be promoted in 2021 and is already involved in diplomatic security and state administration, South Korean news service Seoul Pyongyang News reported Tuesday.

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The statement from Seoul's spy agency made during a South Korean parliamentary audit comes at a time when debate continues over Kim Yo Jong.

Kim's profile has grown in 2020 following the demolition of the inter-Korean liaison office in Kaesong. South Korea's spy agency has previously suggested she is the de facto No. 2 in Pyongyang, but Seoul's unification ministry has said Kim may not be as powerful.

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On Tuesday, according to South Korean lawmakers present at the audit, the spy agency said Kim is likely to be named as a candidate for the Politburo.

Kim Jong Un is also likely to be given a new title of "generalissimo" or commander-in-chief, a title previously given to North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, Seoul said Tuesday.

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The North Korean leader has gained significant weight. According to the national intelligence service, Kim may have gained as much as 130 pounds since fully assuming power in 2012. Seoul estimates Kim now weighs 308 pounds, the report says.

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Under Kim, North Korea has become more assertive in the cyber domain.

U.S. cybersecurity firm Cybereason said Tuesday it has identified new Spyware of North Korean origin. The hacking group Kimsuky used Spyware in attacks.

"The target organizations include pharmaceutical and research companies working on COVID-19 therapies, government and defense organizations, journalists and various human rights groups," Cybereason said.

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Last week U.S. cybersecurity agencies said Kimsuky has been sending bogus emails to obtain credentials from victims via spear phishing.

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