NORTH Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is reportedly in a grave condition and his sister could take over as supreme leader of North Korea if he dies.
While little is known about Jong-un’s sister Kim Yo-jong, she is married to Choe Song, the son of one of the secretive state’s most powerful officials.
Who is Choe Song?
Although the secretive North Korean state has kept most information about Mr Choe under wraps, he married Ms Kim in late 2014, and the pair allegedly have two children.
He is also the son of Choe Ryong-hae, who is seen as Mr Kim’s number two.
On New Year’s Day 2015, photographs published by Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the ruling party, showed Ms Kim’s wedding ring as she visited an orphanage in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang.
A source confirmed rumours about her marriage to Mr Choe to South Korean news agency Yonhap: “As far as I know, Kim Yo Jong, deputy director of the Worker’s Party, got married to a son of the party secretary Choe Ryong Hae.”
Mr Choe and Ms Kim are thought to have two children together – one born in 2015 and the other in 2018.
Speculation about their second child spread while the dictator’s sister visited South Korea during the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Ms Kim visited the country as part of North Korea’s delegation, and according to the Korea Herald, she shared news of her pregnancy with South Korean officials after she fell ill on the three-day trip.
Who is Choe Song’s wife Kim Yo-jong?
Yo-jung wields significant power in the secretive state, and is one of her brother’s closest advisers.
She holds a number of positions in the regime, including member of the politburo, North Korea’s decision-making body, and vice director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department, which pumps out information to venerate her brother and discredit his enemies.
She fell out of favour with her brother in 2019, and was removed from the politburo, but her position was reinstated in 2020.
Who is Choe Song’s father?
Mr Choe’s father, Choe Ryong-hae, is one of the most powerful officials in North Korea, with the US government describing him as Kim Jong-un’s “Number Two”.
The 70-year-old is currently serving as president of the Presidium of the Supreme People’s Assembly, which has the power to approve laws, ratify treaties with other countries, remove officials and grant special pardons.
He joined the Korean People’s Army in 1967, and has spent decades working in various positions in the regime.
In 1998, he faced execution when the party found that he was selling scrap metal to foreign countries, but the sister of then leader Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un’s father, stepped in to save his life.
From there, he rapidly rose through the regime’s ranks, becoming the country’s vice marshal – a senior military ranking – and later taking control of the Presidium.
Could Choe Song’s wife become supreme leader?
Attention has turned to Kim Jong-un’s succession after he failed to make an appearance for the Day Of The Sun celebrations on April 15.
The North Korean leader is believed to be in a vegetative state following a botched heart operation, according to reports coming out of South Korea.
According to The Daily NK, the dictator’s health collapsed last summer because of obesity and smoking.
A former state official has claimed that Kim Jong-Un may have been seriously injured during one of his military’s controversial missile tests.
His sister Kim Yo-jung could take over if he dies.
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