South Korean intelligence has announced it has reason to believe North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s first child is a male.
The intelligence report was delivered by a representative in the Korean National Assembly on Tuesday.
“We do not have detailed evidence that his first child is a son,” said Rep. Yoo Sang-beom of the People Power Party. “But we are convinced that the first child is certainly a son based on intelligence that has been shared with an external intelligence agency.”
The mysterious eldest child of Kim Jong Un has been a source of speculation for years, and the ramifications of their gender could be significant to the future of the government.
North Korea follows a unique communist ideology with a de facto hereditary monarchy that has been in complete control of the nation since the Korean War.
North Koreans have only known the Kim family as its rulers. Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, ruled the country before him, and his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, founded the communist-run state more than seven decades ago.
Part of holding onto power involves the cultivation of a cult of personality that paints the family as godlike figures who dominate daily life. State media constantly runs positive stories about Kim Jong Un and children learn about the family in school through songs and classroom instruction.
Kim Jong Un paraded his young daughter – his second child – around a major military celebration last month, prompting speculation from media outlets around the world that he was preparing her for leadership.
The event – a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s military – made world news after Kim’s daughter, Kim Ju-Ae, made a rare appearance, smiling and walking with her father at the event as high-ranking military officials applauded the family.
If the leader’s eldest child is a male, as South Korean intelligence suggests, he would be the most likely candidate to succeed his father – keeping with the male-preference patrilineal history of the dictatorship.
The dictator’s third child has also never been seen in public.
North Korea threatened this week to take “quick, overwhelming action” after the United States flew a nuclear-capable B-52 bomber over the Korean Peninsula in an exercise with South Korean warplanes.
Kim Yo Jong, the sister of dictator Kim Jong Un, made the threat as the U.S. and South Korea continue to carry out joint military exercises.
“We keep our eye on the restless military moves by the U.S. forces and the South Korean puppet military and are always on standby to take appropriate, quick and overwhelming action at any time according to our judgment,” Kim Yo Jong said in the statement, as reported by state media.
Fox News’ Louis Casiano and Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.