South Korea's Unification Ministry on Monday responded cautiously to reports of a possible change in the stature of Kim Yo-jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's sister, days after she was seen standing alongside members of the powerful politburo of Pyongyang's ruling party during a memorial event.
Kim Yo-jong, ap was spotted between members and alternate members of the politburo during a memorial event for her father and late North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang on December 17, indicating she may have been named a member or an alternate member of the organ, according to footage aired on the North's state media.
She, however, appeared in the fifth row of a large group that included her brother, in the first row, and senior officials while paying tribute to her father at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, where his body lies in state, the same day, reports Yonhap News Agency.
Kim Yo-jong was previously an alternate member of the political bureau but was demoted at a January party congress. Her currently known position is a member of the State Affairs Commission and the party's central committee, and the vice director of the party's information and instruction department.
Lee Jong-joo, spokesperson for the Unification Ministry, said it is premature to conclude that Kim Yo-jong has been promoted officially.
"It's difficult to conclude at this point whether there was a change in her status as she is seen at various positions at major events," Lee said at a press briefing.
"We will continue monitoring related moves, including the party's plenary meeting slated for late December."