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In male-dominated North Korea, management prospects of Kim Jong Un’s daughter are unsure

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SEOUL — Though the sudden look of North Korean chief Kim Jong Un’s daughter raised hypothesis that she may very well be a successor within the making, analysts say it could be an unprecedented uphill wrestle within the male-dominated dynasty.

Every change on the prime in North Korea has raised the prospect of a management vacuum or collapse of the Kim dynasty, which has dominated the nation since its founding in 1948.

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Kim Jong Un’s daughter – who was not named in state media – appeared in protection of a ballistic missile launch on Saturday, watching the firing and holding her father’s hand as he examined the missile. This supplied the primary official affirmation that Kim has kids, and underscored a message that the household is right here to remain, analysts mentioned.

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They cautioned that it’s far too early to inform whether or not she is a successor or just a logo used to guarantee residents that nuclear weapons would defend kids and be “monuments to be handed all the way down to our descendants for generations,” as state media reported.

Chun Su-jin, the South Korean writer of a e book on North Korean girls leaders, mentioned the possibility of North Korean elites welcoming Kim’s daughter as ruler is near zero.

“It’s not able to welcome a pacesetter of the opposite gender,” she mentioned. “(Kim) is simply staging a present that he’s a loving father, not only a brutal dictator who shoots missiles.”

Others argue that regardless of North Korea’s deeply patriarchal society, gender might not disqualify a daughter or different lady from taking the reins.

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Barring a sudden well being downside that results in his incapacitation or dying, there’s a truthful period of time earlier than Kim, believed to be practically 40, wants to think about a successor, mentioned Michael Madden, director of North Korea Management Watch.

“That offers ample time for North Korea’s political tradition to alter and create the situations for a feminine successor,” Madden mentioned.


Kim has elevated a number of highly effective girls round him, together with his sister, Yo Jong, and Choe Son Hui, the nation’s first lady international minister.

“Kim Jong Un belongs to a special technology than his grandfather and his father, and in some methods, he seems extra receptive to alter than his forefathers,” mentioned Rachel Minyoung Lee of the 38 North analysis group.

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Based mostly on reviews by former American basketball participant Dennis Rodman, who hung out with Kim’s household in 2013, the North Korean chief is believed to have at the least one daughter who’s about 12-13 years outdated, Madden mentioned. Analysts imagine Kim might have as many as three kids.

If Kim has any sons, they may nonetheless have a bonus to proceed the male-centric “Mt. Paektu bloodline,” Lee mentioned, referring to a volcano on the Chinese language border that performs a central position within the ruling social gathering’s mythology.

Girls have held senior roles in North Korea through the years, however Kim Jong Il handed over a number of older daughters and sons to anoint Kim Jong Un, regardless of hypothesis on the time that his second daughter may very well be his successor, Madden famous.

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The elevated participation of North Korean girls in elite politics doesn’t essentially point out change to the broader social or political programs, 38 North mentioned in a 2020 report.

North Korea is deeply remoted from world geopolitics and is beneath UN sanctions for its weapons applications, which embody nuclear bombs.

In accordance with human rights activists, sexual and gender-based violence stays “endemic”, and COVID-19 border lockdowns and restrictions on beforehand rising market economies have been significantly exhausting on the ladies, who made up a lot of that workforce.

“In North Korea, gender remains to be essential to be a pacesetter,” mentioned Hyun In-ae, a North Korean defector who now works on the Ewha Institute of Unification Research in Seoul.

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When rumors and hypothesis arose in 2020 about Kim Jong Un’s well being, his sister was seen a doable placeholder to take over the household dynasty till one in all Kim’s kids was sufficiently old.

Believed to be in her early 30s, Kim Yo Jong is the chief’s solely shut relative with a public position in politics, spearheading a brand new, harder marketing campaign to place stress on South Korea and in some circumstances working as a “de facto” second in command, in response to South Korean intelligence.

Based mostly on earlier leaders, any kids will want schooling and on the job expertise earlier than they are often thought-about for supreme management, and in about 10 years we will count on her to have begun an official profession, Madden mentioned.

If, over the subsequent decade, Kim’s daughter turns into intently related to financial growth and the missile and nuclear weapons applications, then the North Korean political and army equipment may place her because the promising subsequent technology of the Paektu line, mentioned Darcie Draudt of the Princeton College of Public and Worldwide Affairs.

“Backside line: the bloodline, and army and financial growth bona fides, matter extra then gender within the fourth technology of the Kim Dynasty,” she mentioned. (Reporting by Josh Smith; Further reporting by Daewoung Kim. Enhancing by Gerry Doyle)



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