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

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (front C) and his wife Ri Sol-Ju visiting Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang on the New Year’s Day. Photo: AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS
  • 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.

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.

Source: CNN

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

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.

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.

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 favour with Kim.

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.

Sources: HuffPost,Chosun Ilbo

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 favour. It’s widely suspected that he orchestrated the plot to murder his half-brother Kim Jong Nam earlier this year.

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.

KCNA via Associated PressKim Il Sung visits a fruit farm in North Hwanghae, North Korea in 1979.

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.

Source: CNN

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