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Kim Jong Un Successor: If not Kim Jong Un, who? Possible heirs to the throne of North Korea | World News


SEOUL: The mystery surrounding Kim Jong Un’s health exposes deep uncertainty about North Korea’s succession line more than eight years after he took office. While the Kim family has ruled for seven decades by passing power between male heirs like other hereditary dynasties, Kim, 36, has named no successor. Their own children are still young, and the surviving adults of the ruling family face potential barriers to their promotion.

Here are some possible successors:

Kim Yo Jong, sister

Part royal representative, part personal assistant, Kim Yo Jong has become one of his older brother’s closest aides. Earlier this month, she was reinstated as an alternate member of the Politburo of Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party. As such, she is the only other member of the Kim family with something close to real power in the regime.

Although he became the first member of the ruling family to visit Seoul and accompanied Kim Jong Un on his summits with the President of the United States, Donald Trump and Xi Jinping of China, he also performed mundane tasks, such as helping the leader shut down a cigarette during a train stop in China. It is unclear whether North Korea’s patriarchal elite will support a relatively young woman as the country’s next “supreme leader”.

Kim Jong Un’s son

A male heir would provide the most conventional line of succession in a dynasty previously ruled by Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, and founded by his grandfather, Kim Il Sung. South Korean intelligence said that Kim married Ri Sol Ju, a former singer, in 2009 and is believed to have three children.

The problem is that the children have not yet been officially mentioned in the state media and the oldest is believed to be a son born in 2010, according to South Korea’s DongA Ilbo newspaper. Dennis Rodman, the former basketball star who visited North Korea, said in 2013 that he also had a daughter named Ju Ae. That would likely require any of the children to rule under some form of regent until they are of legal age.

Kim Han Sol, nephew

Kim Han Sol, born in 1995, may have become an heir if his father, Kim Jong Nam, had not quarreled with Kim Jong Il and gone into exile at the Chinese gambling center in Macao. Kim Jong Nam was Kim Jong Un’s older half brother and his earnest rival, frequented casinos and occasionally criticized his younger brother’s regime.

Hopes that Kim Han Sol might have had for returning to Pyongyang were dashed in 2017, when his father was killed at the Kuala Lumpur airport by two women who smeared VX nerve agent on his face. Chinese police later arrested several North Koreans sent to Beijing on suspicion of conspiring to kill Kim Han Sol, the South Korean newspaper JoongAng Ilbo reported at the time. His whereabouts are unknown.

Kim Jong Chol, brother

Kim Jong Chol, the only surviving brother of Kim Jong Un, would be another possibility, since he has shown more interest in guitars than in politics. Thae Yong Ho, the former No. 2 at the North Korean embassy in London who defected to South Korea, once said that Kim’s older brother “has no official title” and added that he is “just a guitarist really talented”.

Kim Jong Il viewed his middle son as “feminine,” according to the pseudonym Kenji Fujimoto, who claims to have been the former North Korean leader’s personal sushi chef. In 2011, South Korean broadcaster KBS captured Kim Jong Chol enjoying an Eric Clapton concert in Singapore. Little else is known about him except that he studied in Switzerland and is a fan of professional basketball in the United States like his brother.

Times of India