Kim Yo Jong obviously could not have risen to such heights had she not been Kim Jong Il’s daughter, but she’s shown remarkable charm, wit and strength in bypassing other family members.
One other brother, Kim Yong Chol, who’s three or four years older than Kim Jong Un, is said to have been discarded by their father as “too effeminate” to be a proper heir to any position. Photographed several years ago attending Eric Clapton concerts in Singapore and London, he’s known to be an avid guitar player himself. Within the tightly shut doors of one or more of the ruling family’s compounds, he is presumably strumming away—no harm done and no threat.
And there was the eldest half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, born of Kim Jong Il’s first mistress, discarded by their father as too much a playboy to be his heir and relegated to exile in Macao. Still seeing him as dangerous, Kim Jong Un in 2017 had him rubbed out, literally, by two young massage ladies as he was about to fly back to Macao from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur. North Korean saboteurs had paid the poor women, from Indonesia and Vietnam, to smear a liquid on his face that turned out to be a VX chemical agent that killed him within minutes.