The elusive Kim family of North Korea continues to fascinate worldwide. While Kim Jong Un is known for verbally sparring with President Donald Trump and building a dangerous nuclear arsenal, there’s something else we’ve always been curious about — his family life.
We know the supreme leader is married — and more recently, him and his wife welcomed a new daughter into the world. But that’s not all, as Kim Jong Un also has a son who will reportedly take over for his father when the times comes. Here’s what we know so far, and a little bit about the family dynamics of the Kims, too.
Kim Jong Un and his wife reportedly have 3 children
Since Kim Jong Un is so secretive when it comes to his personal life, reporters have found it difficult to know just how many children the leader and his wife have together. CNN reports South Korea’s National Intelligence Service says the Kims have three children in total. And oddly enough, it was the NBA star Dennis Rodman who shared the details about Kim’s most recent little girl.
The Guardian shares details about Rodman and Kim Jong Un’s friendship. According to Rodman, Kim’s an “awesome guy” and a “good dad” to his youngest daughter, Ju-ae.
And his son will inherit the regime
There’s been plenty of discussion about Kim’s children — and speculation as to whether he has a son, too. While many sources say they can’t confirm whether the Kims have a son who will inherit the regime or not, CNN says sources report he had a son in 2010. Sources also say his second child was a girl, who was born in 2013. And as The Sunday Times notes, “For a ruling family whose reign of terror is based on totalitarian tenets of slavish loyalty and subjugation, the producing of a son is crucial.”
His wife tends to disappear when she’s pregnant
Ri Sol Ju, the first lady of North Korea, continues to mystify. Not only is she just as secretive as the rest of the Kim clan, but she also spends months on end disappearing from the public eye. Though there’s been speculation that perhaps she had a falling out with the leader and this is why she’s never seen, it seems there’s a more likely cause. Bustle notes most people believe she disappears when she’s pregnant, as she’ll sometimes be absent from the public for nine months or longer.
North Korea has not addressed these rumors (and we don’t believe they ever will). But perhaps if the Kims choose to have a fourth child, we’ll know by Ri’s absence.
Before his son was born, it was thought Kim’s sister would succeed him if he passed away
For a country so rooted in traditional ideals, it seems odd that a woman could potentially rule. But as Al Jazeera reports, Kim Jong Un’s sister was the favorite daughter of the family when they were growing up. Kim Sul Song is her name, and she reportedly worked closely with her father and grandfather when it came to scheduling, security arrangements, and travel itineraries.
You won’t see Kim Sul Song out much in public anymore, as she’s well hidden. But it seems her and Kim Jong Un are still close, as she helps him run the regime.
Will Kim’s bloodthirsty tendencies be passed on to his son?
The Kim family has always been about keeping the country’s power in their bloodlines, but it seems Kim Jong Un is the most extreme North Korean leader yet. Express.co.uk says the current leader’s father told the West he’d actually slow down North Korea’s nuclear program if he could have foreign aid and oil in return. But since Kim Jong Un’s rise to power, that offer’s seemingly out the window.
So, will this new son ruthlessly execute officials and family members just as his father has done, or will he be a more gentle leader? Only time will tell.
And what will become of his daughters?
Though it’s unlikely we’ll see a woman as the dictator of North Korea any time soon, we still speculate as to what Kim Jong Un’s daughters will be up to. If Kim Jong Un follows in his father’s footsteps, he may enlist their help as aids and political leaders for their brother, who will inherit the regime. We may see them managing their brother’s meetings — or, more likely, we won’t see them at all as they busily work behind the scenes.
One thing’s for sure: We can’t imagine they’ll live the life of the average North Korean woman, which involves mandatory military service and a heavy workload.
The Kims have ruled the country since 1948 — and there’s seemingly no stopping them
This may surprise you, but North Korea is a very new country. CNN explains it was founded in 1948 by Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il Sung. And since the Kims have ruled for this long thus far, it seems they’ll keep their grip on the country for the foreseeable future.
Though Kim’s son will rule eventually, his dead grandfather will always be the supreme leader. The Sunday Times says Kim Il Sung was the one who invented the state’s philosophy of self-reliance, strength, and obedience — and even after his death, he’s still worshipped by the masses.
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