What Kim Jong Un’s Sister’s Rumored Pregnancy Would Mean for the North Korean Regime

Kim Jong Un’s family has always had an air of mystery to it. Since early 2018, North Korea has been slowly taking steps to make peace with its neighbor to the south. North and South Korea even shared an ice hockey team during the Winter Olympics. However, pregnancy rumors about Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, have showed us that there is still a lot to learn about the regime.

Kim Yo Jong reportedly announced her pregnancy during her stay in South Korea

Kim Yo Jong sister of Kim Jong Un with the President of South Korea.

Is Kim Jong-Un’s sister really pregnant? | AFP/Getty Images

The rumors first started to swirl when Kim arrived in South Korea for the Winter Olympics on behalf of her brother. Local media quoted “unidentified officials” as confirming that Kim told them she was pregnant when she arrived. The sources also said that Kim avoided certain foods during her stay, and photos attempt to reveal a pregnancy bump hiding under her coat.

Next: South Korea hasn’t confirmed the pregnancy. 

South Korea says it can’t confirm the rumors

The rumors were circulating during the Olympic games. | Associated Press via YouTube

South Korean officials have not confirmed any news about Kim’s pregnancy. A spokesperson for the Unification Ministry and the South Korean government told Newsweek, “There is nothing that we’ve known of. That’s the South Korean government’s stance.” Although South Korea has been building up its relationship with the North, it is still kept in the dark about most issues within North Korea. In fact, pregnancy is kept extremely quiet to anyone outside Kim Jong Un’s family.

Next: Secret pregnancies are not new to the regime. 

The North Korean Regime keeps their children very quiet

Kim Jong Un and his wife walk past a group of children.

Not much is known about Kim Jong Un’s rumored children. | AFP/Getty Images

One problem with the United States’ knowledge of North Korea is that most of it is speculation. Children of the regime are no exception. The world believes that Kim Jong Un has three children, but that’s partly because of speculation and partly because of retired basketball player Dennis Rodman (he went to North Korea and said he met Kim Jong Un’s daughter, which was news to the U.S.). We only assume Kim Jong Un has three kids, not one, because his wife periodically stepped out of the public eye for months at a time.

The pregnancy of Kim Yo Jong will probably never be announced by the regime. And now that the rumors have started, she likely won’t be seen in the public eye for a while. In fact, the U.S. believes she had another child in 2015 — but that, too, is only speculation.

Next: Here’s what a mysterious pregnancy shows about North Korea. 

The pregnancy shows the difficulty and frustration with understanding Kim’s family

Kim Yo Jong wearing a black jacket at the Olympic Games.

If the rumors are true, the Korean media will go into a frenzy. | Patrick Semansky/Pool/Getty Images

There is so much that we don’t know about North Korea — and the pregnancy rumors only reaffirm that. Trying to see inside of the Kim family has been a monumental task for the U.S. We can only know what the South Korean media (or in some cases, retired basketball players) tells us. Being kept in the dark about a sibling’s pregnancy only clarifies that things won’t change soon.

Next: Here’s why Kim Yo Jong’s pregnancy will likely never be talked about again. 

The Kim family is treated as ‘separate from normal people’

Kim Jong-Un saluting during a parade.

Kim Jong Un’s family isn’t interested in being in the spotlight. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea keeps its family quiet because they’re not meant to be looked at as regular people. They keep things like pregnancies out of the spotlight because it only makes others more curious about them. They want to be on the same level as mythological, legendary figures. “Kim Jong Un’s family is treated as something very separate from normal people,” Fyodor Tertitskiy of NK News told BBC. The secrecy and resulting curiosity that surrounds the family is exactly what the regime has worked toward for years.

Next: Kim’s pregnancy might change the course of North and South Korea’s peace. 

Kim’s pregnancy could prevent her from attending events on North Korea’s behalf

Kim Yo Jong wearing a lanyard with her photo on it during the Olympic Games.

We don’t know much about Kim. | Patrick Semansky/Pool /Getty Images

Kim didn’t come into the spotlight until recently. However, she doesn’t present herself to the public the way her brother does. Her appearance at the Winter Olympics appeared to go smoothly, and she dined with many South Korean leaders and conversed with them frequently while she was there. Some see her as the softer side of the regime. South Korean media have also referred to her as the “Ivanka” of North Korea.

With Kim’s new pregnancy, she might not communicate with anyone for a few months, leaving her brother as the only voice to communicate with the South. It’s unclear whether or not discussions between the two countries will continue to run smoothly without the softer presence of Kim.

Next: What impact do the children of the regime have on the regime itself? 

What role will the children play in the regime?

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a photo session with the participants in the 8th Congress of the Korean Children's Union in Pyongyang.

According to rumors, Kim Jong Un is already a father. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

Kim Jong Un was third in line for succession, but he ended up taking the throne. Right now, it’s too early to tell which of the children could be North Korea’s next leader. However, we know that it doesn’t need to be the oldest male. Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in South Korea, told ABC News that he does not believe Kim’s pregnancy would have anything to do with the nation’s political successor. However, Kim Jong Un will likely pick whoever is the best fit to run his country – even if it’s not his own child.

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