North Korean leader Kim Jong Il promoted both his sister, Kim Kyoung Hui, and third son, Kim Jong Un, to the rank of four-star general, North Korea’s official news organization reported early Tuesday. The move is widely interpreted as the leader’s attempt to strengthen the line of succession should he die. After Kim Jong Il fell sick early last year, South Korean and Japanese media focused on the younger Kim as the likely successor. The promotion of Kim Jong Il's sister, Kim Kyoung Hui, the first woman to hold such a position in North Korea, is a sign that she may take over if Kim Jong Un is unprepared to take over when his father dies. Kim Kyoung Hui is head of the country’s light industries, and her husband has been the elder Kim’s closest associate for several years.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to Kim Kyoung Hui as Kim Jong Il's daughter. She is his sister.