Retired intelligence officer says Kim Jong-un has 4 kids, two of them born out of wedlock
By Kang Hyun-kyung
In North Korea, any details about its chief is prime secret.
When Kim Jong-il (1941-2011), the daddy of present chief Kim Jong-un, was in energy, North Korean residents didn’t even know if he was married or not or whether or not he had any kids.
Some defectors testified that it was solely after they arrived in South Korea that they got here to know the older Kim had married a number of instances and had 4 kids, together with Kim Jong-un and his half-brother Jong-nam who was assassinated after being poisoned by VX nerve agent in 2014 at Kuala Lumpur Worldwide Airport.
North Korea’s decades-long custom of protecting its chief’s household tree underneath wraps was partially damaged when Kim Jong-un rose to energy following his father’s sudden demise in 2011 resulting from cardiac arrest.
Kim appeared in public along with his spouse, Ri Sol-ju, a number of instances. He confirmed up at a number of main occasions alongside along with his daughter since she was first noticed in November final 12 months through the check launch of the Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile.
Regardless of the change, different particulars of Kim’s daughter, comparable to her age and different siblings, stay unknown as North Korean officers have stored their lips tightly sealed.
In North Korea’s state-controlled media, Kim’s daughter is depicted because the “revered youngster” or “pricey youngster” of its supreme chief, with out revealing her identify.
South Korean and Western media, nevertheless, have referred to her as Kim’s second youngster “Ju-ae” since her first public look.
A retired South Korean intelligence officer claimed that the media is utilizing the unsuitable identify to confer with Kim’s daughter.
“Ju-ae is a misnomer,” Choe Su-yong, a former official on the Nationwide Intelligence Service (NIS), informed The Korea Occasions. “Her identify is Eun-ju, not Ju-ae.”
Choe mentioned retired U.S. basketball star Dennis Rodman, who visited North Korea a number of instances, along with his final journey going down in 2017, is the supply of an “unconfirmed truth” about Kim’s daughter.
“I heard that Kim launched his daughter to Rodman throughout his go to to North Korea, saying in Korean that ‘jeo-ae’ (that lady) is his daughter. Rodman appeared to have misunderstood the Korean phrase ‘jeo-ae’ as her identify,” he mentioned, citing intelligence he gathered from his informants in North Korea because the supply of the data. “Rodman informed the media that Kim’s daughter’s identify is Ju-ae and that is what she has been referred to as as such ever since.”
Choe, who had labored within the counter-espionage division on the NIS for twenty years earlier than retiring in 2010, declined to share additional particulars about his informants, saying he didn’t need to threat their lives.
This reporter contacted Rodman through electronic mail to substantiate Choe’s declare, however the U.S. sports activities star didn’t reply to the request.
In an interview with the British every day, The Guardian, launched in September 2013, Rodman shared some particulars of his personal assembly with Kim and his household.
The NBA star mentioned he shared many meals and drinks with Kim and his household.
“I held their child Ju-ae and spoke with Ms. Ri as properly. He’s dad and has a good looking household,” he mentioned.
The NIS informed The Korea Occasions that there is no such thing as a further info it could possibly share with the media about Kim’s daughter.
Unification Ministry spokesperson Koo Byung-sam mentioned the ministry shouldn’t be ready to substantiate info on the North Korean chief’s daughter.
“Her identify is thought to be Ju-ae after U.S. sports activities star Dennis Rodman revealed her identify within the media. There isn’t any additional info that the unification ministry can share about her identify,” he informed The Korea Occasions.
Gag order generates unconfirmed details
An Chan-il, the primary North Korean defector to acquire a doctoral diploma within the South, mentioned details about the North Korean chief’s kids is prime secret, so there is no such thing as a means for the residents of the reclusive state or folks outdoors of the nation to learn about it.
“Only some North Koreans, who’re very near Kim, would learn about his kids,” he mentioned. “In North Korea, talking publicly concerning the chief’s household tree or family tree is prohibited and those that break that rule can be taken to a jail camp.”
The defector added there’s a type of gag order in place concerning the ruling relations.
“Prohibiting folks from accessing details about the royal household is a part of the tradition of the character cult. In North Korea, persons are not supposed to talk publicly concerning the private lifetime of their chief or his kids. North Korean residents usually are not even allowed to have the identical identify because the chief,” he mentioned.
An mentioned his youthful brother needed to change his identify as a result of he shared the primary identify with former North Korean chief Kim Jong-il. “His identify was An Jong-il and he voluntarily modified his first identify as he didn’t need to get in bother,” he mentioned.
After Kim’s daughter’s first public look in November final 12 months, the NIS confirmed that the lady’s identify is Ju-ae and that she is Kim’s second youngster.
In keeping with the spy company, Kim and Ri married in 2009 and so they have three kids with the primary youngster born in 2010, the second in 2013 and the third in 2017.
Choe, nevertheless, questions the accuracy of the data, citing intelligence he gathered from his sources within the North revealing that Kim Jong-un has 4 kids, not three because the NIS confirmed.
He mentioned Kim’s spouse, Ri, gave start to 2 kids — a son named “Ryong-ju” and the daughter recognized to the media as Ju-ae. The 2 others — the eldest and the youngest — have been born out of wedlock.
“Kim’s first youngster is a son, and his identify is Il-bong,” Choe mentioned, including that he’s an illegitimate youngster and his mom is North Korean singer-turned-politician Hyon Track-wol. “Kim’s youngest youngster is believed to be 5 years outdated or much less. It stays unknown whether or not that youngster is a lady or a boy, however the youngster was born out of wedlock, too. The mom of that youngster is a Korean Japanese pianist. She is thought by her first identify Ryo-sim. However I don’t have any additional particulars about her,” he added.
Duped by the propaganda portraying North Korea as a paradise, almost 100,000 Koreans dwelling in Japan migrated to North Korea on a ferry since 1959. Within the North, they and their kids have been victims of varied types of discrimination and persecution as some have been accused of being spies. The lady who allegedly had a baby with Kim Jong-un is believed to be a descendant of these Koreans who migrated to the North from Japan.
Details about Kim’s kids issues, as a result of elements just like the order of start, gender and whether or not they’re reliable or illegitimate all have an effect on the choice of Kim’s successor.
Choe claimed that there was an influence wrestle within the North through the previous few years, including that Hyon survived and have become Kim Jong-un’s favourite aide.
Hyon, who’s the mom of Kim’s first youngster, in response to Choe, is a North Korean singer and former chief of the Moranbong Band and the Samjiyon Orchestra. She has drawn eager media consideration for her dramatic rise from being a singer to a high-ranking politician.
She was promoted to vice director of North Korea’s highly effective Propaganda and Agitation Division and have become a protocol officer for Kim Jong-un, a job beforehand performed by Kim’s highly effective sister Yo-jong.
As a protocol officer, Hyon has appeared alongside the North Korean chief at main political occasions.
Some Western media described Hyon as Kim’s ex-girlfriend.
Choe mentioned Hyon’s ties with the North Korean chief started within the late Nineteen Nineties when Kim Jong-un was learning in Switzerland. At the moment, he mentioned Hyon served as a type of nanny and caretaker for Kim and his sister, and her relationship with Kim continued after they returned to the North.