The approximately 10-year-old daughter of North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un will likely succeed her father in the dictatorship.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service announced Thursday that Kim Ju Ae is forecast as the dictator’s very likely heir apparent, according to all available data collected.
“Based on analyses on her public activities and the level of the North’s respect toward her since her public appearance, Kim Ju-ae appears to be the most likely successor,” said National Intelligence Service official Cho Tae-yong in a report to the South Korean parliament, according to Yonhap News Agency.
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The NIS is leaving open a variety of possibilities for succession, given that Kim Jong Un is believed to have at least one other child who has not been seen by the public.
Ju Ae made her first public appearance in November 2022, accompanying her father and mother, Ri Sol Ju, to an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
Since then, Ju Ae has been photographed extensively alongside her father attending parades, dining with the top brass and touring military facilities.
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Previously, intelligence groups have said it was “too early” to determine Ju Ae’s role.
Analysts have pointed to consistent, high-profile appearances over the last year as significant evidence for her heir-apparent status.
“By accompanying her father on major events, she’s like learning kingship and building a human network at a tender age,” said Sejong Institute analyst Cheong Seong-Chang.
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Earlier this year, South Korean officials announced it has reason to believe the North Korean dictator’s first child is a male.
“We do not have detailed evidence that his first child is a son,” said Rep. Yoo Sang-beom of the People Power Party. “But we are convinced that the first child is certainly a son based on intelligence that has been shared with an external intelligence agency.”
The mysterious eldest child of Kim Jong Un has been a source of speculation for years, and the ramifications of their gender could be significant to the future of the government.
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