South Korean intelligence has announced it has reason to believe North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s first child is a boy.
The intelligence report was delivered on Tuesday by a representative of the Korean National Assembly.
“We have no detailed evidence that her first child is a boy,” People Power Party MP Yoo Sang-beom said. “But we are convinced that the first child is certainly a child based on intelligence that has been shared with an outside intelligence agency.”
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Kim Jong Un’s mysterious eldest son has been a source of speculation for years, and the ramifications of their gender could be significant for the government’s future.
North Korea follows a unique communist ideology with a de facto hereditary monarchy that has been in complete control of the nation ever since the Korean War.
North Koreans have only known the Kim family as their rulers. Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, ruled the country before him, and his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, founded the communist state over seventy years ago.
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Part of maintaining power involves cultivating a cult of personality that portrays the family as divine figures who dominate daily life. State media consistently publish positive stories about Kim Jong Un, and children learn about the family at school through songs and classroom instruction.
Kim Jong Un paraded his young daughter, his second daughter, during an important military celebration last month, sparking speculation from media around the world that he was preparing her for leadership.
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The event – a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s military – made headlines around the world after Kim’s daughter Kim Ju-Ae made a rare appearance, smiling and walking with his father during the event as senior military officials cheered on the family.
If the leader’s eldest son is a boy, as South Korean intelligence suggests, he would be the most likely candidate to succeed his father, in keeping with the dictatorship’s male-preference patrilineal history.
Even the third son of the dictator has never been seen in public.
North Korea this week threatened to take “swift and overwhelming action” after the United States flew a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over the Korean peninsula in an exercise with South Korean warplanes.
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Kim Yo Jong, the sister of dictator Kim Jong Un, issued the threat as the US and South Korea continue to do so carry out joint military exercises.
“We keep a close eye on the restless military moves of US forces and South Korea’s puppet army and are always ready to take appropriate, swift and overwhelming action at any time according to our judgment,” Kim Yo Jong said in the statement, as reported by state media.
Louis Casiano and Lawrence Richard of Fox News contributed to this report.