Ever since Kim Jong Un was accompanied by his daughter at a rocket launch in November 2022, a flurry of speculation has begun about whether she is being presented to the public as a potential successor, especially given her father’s alleged health problems (NK News, 18 January 2023).
World Watch Research analyst Thomas Muller comments: “All such ruminations are very interesting, but it is far too early to draw any serious conclusions. Of course, female leadership would be very significant, and a first in the Communist world, not just in North Korea. However, as with all rumors about Kim Jong Un’s health, speculations about his daughter, whose name has not even been officially published yet, should be taken with a grain of salt.”
Thomas Muller continues: “More tangible are the facts concerning the dire situation in North Korea caused by a very high level of food insecurity. This has led some observers to compare it with the situation of the 1990s, when famine gripped the country (38North, 19 January 2023). There is also a continuing flow of escapees, although with just 67 North Koreans reaching South Korea in 2022, this was the second lowest number ever recorded (NK News, 10 January 2023).