Kim Jong Un’s Daughter: The Likely Successor


North Korea’s Succession Dynamics

In a rare acknowledgment, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) has pointed towards Kim Ju Ae, the young daughter of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, as the “most likely” successor to her father. This marks the first official recognition of Kim Ju Ae’s potential future leadership role in the reclusive nation.

Acknowledgment by National Intelligence Service

The NIS cited a comprehensive analysis of public appearances and the level of respect accorded to Kim Ju Ae since her debut in late 2022 as the basis for their assessment. However, the agency remains cautious, stating it’s considering all potential scenarios in Pyongyang’s succession plan. Despite acknowledging Kim Ju Ae’s prominence, the NIS emphasized Kim Jong Un’s youth, good health, and the complexity of variables in this context.

Emergence of Kim Ju Ae

Kim Ju Ae, believed to be around 10 years old and the second eldest child of the North Korean leader, has been increasingly visible in public, often accompanying her father to significant state events, including missile tests and military parades.

A Strategic Showcasing

Transition to a “Respected” Figure

Notably, observers highlight the shift in terminology used to describe Kim Ju Ae, now being referred to as a “respected” daughter rather than merely a “beloved” one, signifying a deliberate strategic transition in her public portrayal.

Early Exposure and Potential Motives

The strategic decision to introduce Kim Ju Ae early to the public eye could be a calculated move by Kim Jong Un to ensure her establishment and acceptance among the North Korean populace well before assuming leadership.

Challenges and Prejudices

Gender Dynamics in Succession

Analysts underscore that Kim Jong Un’s early presentation of his daughter could serve to challenge deep-seated patriarchal prejudices in North Korea, a nation yet to be led by a woman. The move could pave the way for societal acceptance of a female leader.

Historical Context and Secrecy

North Korea maintains a culture of secrecy, particularly regarding the leader’s family. Kim Jong Un’s approach to his family’s visibility has been notably guarded, with even his wife, Ri Sol Ju, kept from public knowledge until well after their marriage.

Significance of Early Exposure

Kim Ju Ae’s public appearances alongside her father during critical state events, including missile launches and satellite deployments, underline a deliberate effort by Kim Jong Un to position his daughter in the public eye as a potential successor, solidifying her role within the country’s future leadership landscape.


While the acknowledgment by South Korea’s intelligence agency signifies a significant shift in the discourse surrounding North Korea’s leadership succession, the reclusive nature of the regime and the complex dynamics within suggest that the true course of leadership succession in the country remains a carefully guarded secret. However, the deliberate and consistent appearances of Kim Ju Ae alongside her father signal a potential recalibration in the dynamics of power transition within North Korea.

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