The mysterious lives of the 3 kids who are believed to be Kim Jong Un’s

  • North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is believed to have three children with his wife Ri Sol-ju.
  • There are few details on the kids, but they’re believed to be between the ages of 10 months and 7 years old.
  • The eldest child is believed to be a boy who is expected to one day succeed Kim.

Like much of North Korea, the personal and family life of its dictator Kim Jong Un is shrouded in secrecy.

Little is known about his wife, Ri Sol-ju, and even less is known about the three young children the couple is believed to have.

Most of the currently available information about the family comes from South Korea’s National Intelligence Service. But former US basketball star Dennis Rodman has also spoken to media about holding one of Kim’s children during one of his controversial visits to the Hermit Kingdom, though the details he provided have not been independently corroborated.

Here’s everything we know:


Most sources agree that Kim and his wife have had three children since their secretive marriage in 2009.

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Kim (R) applauds with his wife Ri Sol-Ju (L) during a performance by the Moranbong band in Pyongyang in 2012.
source
KCNA via Reuters

Source: Business Insider


Kim’s first child is believed to be a boy, born in 2010, and his second child was likely a daughter born in 2013. The fact that Kim has at least one male heir likely means that he will eventually succeed Kim and continue the family’s dictatorship dynasty.

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Kim guides the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in 2017.
source
KCNA via REUTERS

Source: CNN


The gender of Kim’s third child, however, remains unknown. The child is believed to have been born in February 2017.

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Kim participates in a meeting in Pyongyang on September 4, 2017.
source
KCNA via REUTERS

Source: Business Insider


Kim’s daughter is named Ju-ae, according to Dennis Rodman, who said he met the child in 2013. “I held their baby Ju-ae and spoke with Ms. Ri as well. [Kim’s] a good dad and has a beautiful family,” Rodman told The Guardian.

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Kim watches a basketball game with Dennis Rodman at Pyongyang Indoor Stadium on January 9, 2014.
source
REUTERS/KCNA

Source: The Guardian


The kids’ exact ages and birth years have been difficult to pin down, but can be roughly inferred from the lengthy periods in which Ri has mysteriously vanished from public life.

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Kim and his wife Ri watch a performance by the Moranbong Band at the April 25 House of Culture in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang in 2014.
source
Reuters/KCNA

Source: Business Insider


In late 2016, media outlets began noticing that Ri had not been seen for roughly seven months, sparking fears that she had perhaps fallen out of favor with Kim.

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Kim stands next to Ri as they attend the 2014 Combat Flight Contest among commanding officers of the Korean People’s Air Force in 2014.
source
KCNA via Reuters

Sources: Fox News, Chosun Ilbo


But intelligence sources later reported that the absence had most likely been due to her pregnancy and that she had given birth in early 2017.

Sources: Fox News, Chosun Ilbo


Similarly, news outlets speculated on her prolonged public absence back in 2012, which was later attributed to a pregnancy.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un and his wife Ri Sol-Ju arrive at an auditorium to enjoy a performance given by the Moranbong Band in 2012.
source
KCNA via Reuters

Sources: HuffPost, Chosun Ilbo


There are no public photos of Kim and Ri’s children, but the couple do occasionally pose for propaganda photos with other people’s kids, like in this photo at a children’s hospital in 2014.

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Kim Jong un and his wife Ri Sol Ju play with children during a visit to the Taesongsan General Hospital in 2014.
source
KCNA via Reuters

Or this photo at a children’s camp in 2013.

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Kim and Ri sit during a visit to the Pyongyang Myohyangsan Children’s Camp at the foot of Mt. Myohyang in North Phyongan Province in 2013.
source
KCNA via Reuters

The fact that Kim’s children are so young could be one of the reasons Kim promoted his sister to a top position in his government two months ago — the head of the propaganda department of the Worker’s Party of Korea.

Source: The New York Times


Some have speculated she could take over in case something happens to him before his kids are old enough to rule.

Source: The New York Times


But there’s no guarantee she’ll be protected for long. Kim is known to turn on family members quickly when they fall out of favor. It’s widely suspected that he orchestrated the plot to murder his half-brother Kim Jong Nam earlier this year.

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Kim Jong Nam arrives at Beijing airport in Beijing, China, in this photo taken by Kyodo February 11, 2007.
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Reuters/KYODO Kyodo

Source: PBS


The secrecy around Kim’s children is not unusual for his family — there are still contested claims over the number of children and wives Kim’s father and grandfather had.


Kim Il Sung, who was in power until his 1994 death, probably had six children and two wives.

Source: CNN


Kim Jong Il, who ruled North Korea until his death in 2011, is believed to have had seven children with four women, only one of whom was his legal wife. His third son, Kim Jong Un, sidelined his older brothers to become the new supreme leader of the Hermit Kingdom.

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (L) visits the Pyongyang Grand Theater in 2009.
source
REUTERS/KCNA

Source: CNN