A TINY tyrant might have been born in North Korea as fears mount that Kim Jong-un’s wife has birthed a son to inherit his ruthless regime.
Rumours spread suggesting she had either crossed Kim and disappeared or was carrying his baby.
North Korea observers feared she might have fallen foul of her despotic husband or incurred the wrath of his equally menacing sister, Kim Yo-jong.
One North Korea watcher told Yonhap News Agency: “Ri showed up at public events every two months last year but has not appeared in public for over seven months this year. That’s quite extraordinary. Some sources speculate Ri’s disappearance may be linked to a check on her activities by Kim’s younger sister Kim Yo-jong.”
But now we know she hasn’t been purged and the question remains over whether she has given birth to the next leader of the oppressed nation.
High profile defector Jang Jin-sung said the truth would be a closely-guarded secret among the regime’s elite. Jang fled the country in 2004 after making his name as poet laureate of North Korea and even meeting the last leader Kim Jong-il.
After escaping, he helped South Korea’s intelligence service to combat the North, but could only hazard a guess at the reason for Kim’s wife’s absence from the public eye.
Speaking to the Daily Star Online, Jang said: “If I claimed to know what’s going on, it would be a lie. That would be the most secret detail of the regimen. If any individual claims to know what’s going on about the relationship between these two, that would be a lie.”
The regime managed to keep the birth of the tyrant’s first child secret from the world — news about Kim’s daughter named Kim Ju-ae only surfaced through basketball star Dennis Rodman.
The ex-NBA player became pals with Kim — who happens to loves the American sport — after visiting North Korea in 2013.
This means an official announcement of any more births would be unlikely — unless Rodman makes another visit perhaps.
The same level of secrecy surrounded the nation’s previous leader according to another defector, Kim Joo-il, who escaped from North Korea in 2007.
He told the Star: “When I was in the North I didn’t know who Kim Jong-il’s children were, I didn’t know about Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un — none of them.”
All that is known is that the North Korean first lady was last seen publicly with chubby hubby Kim at a newly-built commercial development in Pyongyang on March 8 this year.
Some 36 weeks later she re-emerged at his side on December 5 to observe an air force demonstration at a military base.
The interval between sightings is just a month short of the average pregnancy length of nine months. But it is still plenty of time to conceive, carry and deliver a healthy baby, with many infants surviving births at this stage.
Ri Sol-ju has vanished before, but for no longer than four months at a time, reports South Korea’s Chosun IIbo newspaper.
The country’s first ladies are often kept from the limelight, with Kim’s wife’s following a long-trend of decreasing public appearances.
She publicly joined Kim on 22 occasions in 2013, 15 in 2014 and just seven last year and four this year, says the South’s Yonhap News Agency.
North Korean tradition states that leaders must pass on power to a male heir. The means Kim can’t hand over the regimen to his firstborn as she is female, and it’s safe to assume he’s hoping for the birth of a male soon.
Commenting in his memoir, Dear Leader, Jang notes that “North Korea is a patriarchal society, which went straight from feudal Confucianism to Kim dynastic rule.” He explained how women are also forced to address men as their superiors.
While we can only speculate that Kim has a new son, it remains a certain possibility that the next supreme leader of the isolated nation has been born.