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N Korea at crossroads

US steps up intelligence-gathering on Kim Jong Un's sister

Favorite of her late father, Kim Yo Jong seen wielding power beyond her titles

NEW YORK/SEOUL -- Amid mixed reports about the health of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, speculation is brewing over the question of who might assume power in Pyongyang should he be incapacitated, with his 32-year-old sister emerging as a leading candidate.

While there has been no clear evidence that Kim is indeed ill, the U.S. intelligence community will no doubt be accelerating its information-gathering on the sibling, Kim Yo Jong, said Bruce Klingner, who spent 20 years working at the Central Intelligence Agency and the Defense Intelligence Agency and is now senior research fellow for Northeast Asia at the Washington-based Heritage Foundation think tank.

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