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Meet Kim Yo Jong, the sister of North Korea's Kim Jong Un and newly promoted political ally

  • Faced with international sanctions and the potential threat of armed confrontation with the U.S., Kim Jong Un consolidated his political power at a key meeting of the country's ruling party.
  • The decision to appoint Kim Yo Jong — the dictator's sister — as a member of the regime's Political Bureau stirred the most curiosity.
  • In recent years, some immediate family members who might have been deemed threatening to the regime have been killed.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promoted his younger sister to a top political post, according to state media, prompting an air of intrigue about the new Kim in Pyongyang.

Faced with international sanctions and the potential threat of armed confrontation with the U.S., the dictator consolidated his political power at a key meeting of the country's ruling party over the weekend.

On Saturday, the isolated regime's leader — who was nicknamed "Little Rocket Man" by President Donald Trump — announced several personnel changes at a meeting of the Central Committee of the governing Workers' Party, the KCNA news agency reported.

The decision to appoint Kim Yo Jong — Kim Jong Un's sister — as a member of the regime's Political Bureau stirred the most curiosity.

Who is Kim Yo Jong?

Kim Yo Jong was rarely seen in public before 2010, when she was pictured in attendance at a party conference. Her appointment as deputy director of the party's Propaganda and Agitation Department in 2014 significantly boosted her national profile.

Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attends an opening ceremony of a newly-constructed residential complex in Pyongyang, on April 13, 2017.
Damir Sagolj | Reuters
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, attends an opening ceremony of a newly-constructed residential complex in Pyongyang, on April 13, 2017.

Believed to be in her late 20s, Kim Yo Jong has frequently accompanied her brother on various "field guidance trips" as well as to other political events. She has operated in several political roles in the one-party state, and her latest promotion appears to have been made in order to strengthen the position of Kim Jong Un's family within the regime's leadership.

Liker her brother, Kim Yo Jong studied in Switzerland, reportedly attending the International School of Berne. She is then believed to have studied computer science at Kim Il Sung University in North Korea.

Kim Yo Jong and Kim Jong Un both have the same mother — Ko Yang Hui, a former dancer born in Japan who was a partner of Kim Jong Il, who died in 2011. The regime's founder, Kim Il Sung, was Kim Jong Il's father.

The U.S. Treasury Department blacklisted Kim Yo Jong in January, alongside six other North Korean individuals, for supporting human rights abuses as well as other censorship activities in the isolated state.

What about Kim Jong Un's half-brother and uncle?

This file photo dated 04 May 2001 shows a man believed to be Kim Jong-Nam, son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, being escorted by an immigration officer as he gets off a bus to board a All Nippon Airways plane headed to China, at Narita airport near Tokyo.
Toshifumi Kitamura | AFP | Getty Images
This file photo dated 04 May 2001 shows a man believed to be Kim Jong-Nam, son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il, being escorted by an immigration officer as he gets off a bus to board a All Nippon Airways plane headed to China, at Narita airport near Tokyo.

In recent years, some immediate family members who might have been deemed threatening to the regime have been killed.

Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, who had publicly spoken out against the family's dynastic control, was assassinated at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia in February, while the ruler's uncle, Jang Song Thaek, was executed in 2013.

The communist Workers' Party is North Korea's primary political faction and has been in power since the state's creation in 1948.

Correction: This story was revised to correct that Kim Jong Nam was assassinated in February.

—CNBC's Nyshka Chandran contributed to this report.

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