Does the North Korean leader have an heir apparent for his successor? I think he was hidden even during his studies in Switzerland. Is there any heir apparent?

  • 3
    This article might be helpful. It points toward no, there is no heir apparent. To help with context, the current leader was only implied to be heir just the year before his father died
    – katatahito
    Jul 1, 2019 at 4:54

2 Answers 2


Under dynastic considerations, either the eldest child or the eldest son of Kim Jong-Un would qualify. There seems to be at least one child, possibly a daughter, according to a BBC report.

Since they are under-age, Kim Yo-Jong might lead a caretaker government until they are old enough.

But that applies dynastic logic to what is not, formally, a monarchy. By persistent reports, the OGD is a central conduit of power from Kim to the WPK and the DPRK. Or one of the Vice Chairmen of the WPK might be well positioned to follow Kim. Much depends on the political dynamics of the change.

  • Kim Jong-Un appears healthy. He could have several decades left to rule. By then, children and other relatives will be older.
  • Do people in the DPRK believe that Juche and Kimilsungism is possible without a Kim?
  • It seems that the military and government administration are firmly under party control. This might change.
  • According to your link, “There are those, most prominently the defector Jang Jin-sung, who currently argue that the leaders of the OGD are the real leaders of North Korea, [...] Michael Madden of the North Korea Leadership Watch disagrees, claiming instead that the OGD implements the directives of the Supreme Leader, and is not powerful enough to introduce directives itself.” Your statement seems a little strong relative to what your source is saying. I don’t know enough about the state of NK scholarship to have an opinion, but your statement as it stands needs stronger backing.
    – KRyan
    Jul 1, 2019 at 14:59
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    @KRyan, my statement was easy to misunderstand. I was trying to say that Kim rules through the OGD, not that the OGD rules Kim. That would still leave the OGD well placed in a power struggle.I was thinking e.g. of this 38North article.
    – o.m.
    Jul 1, 2019 at 16:09
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    "Under dynastic considerations, either the eldest child or the eldest son of Kim Jong-Un would qualify. " It's worth noticing, that Jong-Un himself is not the oldest son. It's the dictator who makes the rules, so dynastic considerations might not apply very much, if at all. Jul 1, 2019 at 16:21
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    @TeroLahtinen, see my third paragraph. While the DPRK might look like a monarchy to outside observers, it is not quite the same.
    – o.m.
    Jul 1, 2019 at 16:24
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    @Arsak, added a news report from the BBC. I'd call that a good source as far as news go.
    – o.m.
    Jul 1, 2019 at 16:25

Kim Jung-Un himself is actually the 3rd born son.

He is still a man in his early 30s. If he lives to the average life expectancy of a modern homo sapiens in the 21st century, his heir (he is believed to have a daughter who is still a kid) should not expect to inherit his position until 2060.

  • 11
    What has AI got to do with it?
    – Polygnome
    Jul 1, 2019 at 22:22
  • 1
    I see no reason to think dynastic rule can't survive because of developments in computing. As long as their are hierarchies there will be people who want to stay at the top and people who keep them there. Jul 1, 2019 at 22:22
  • 8
    The only part of this that actually answers the question is "he is believed to have a little girl", and it would be great if you could provide a source for that. The rest is totally irrelevant.
    – F1Krazy
    Jul 1, 2019 at 22:46
  • He weights 140kg and maybe 170cm, and a strong smoker. This is not a guarantee for a long life. But some decades, yes, he still likely has.
    – Gray Sheep
    Nov 18, 2020 at 1:15

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