South Korea: Kim Jong Un’s third child born in February
(CNN) — North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un has a third child, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) has learned.
Lawmakers were briefed on the matter Monday, said Kim Byung-kee of the ruling Democratic Party, though Kim Jong Un’s wife Ri Sol Ju is believed to have given birth in February.
“The gender of their new child is unknown,” the lawmaker said.
Little is known about the North Korean first family, but Kim said he learned from “non-NIS sources” the couple’s first child was a boy, born in 2010, while the second was a daughter, born in 2013.
Opposition lawmaker Yi Wan-yong said “Kim’s first child is a son and the second child is a daughter,” noting he also learned this information from non-NIS sources.
“The NIS told us (Monday) about Ri Sol Ju giving birth to the third child because this implies she remains an influential figure in North Korea,” Yi said.
In 2013, following a highly controversial visit to North Korea, former NBA star Dennis Rodman revealed the name and gender of one of Kim and Ri’s children, a daughter called Ju Ae.
“I held their baby Ju Ae and spoke with Ms. Ri as well,” he said, describing Kim as “a good dad.”
On Tuesday, North Korea launched a ballistic missile that flew over Japan before crashing into the ocean, the latest in a series of ramped up missile tests since Kim became the country’s supreme leader in 2011.
There was speculation that Ri was pregnant late last year, when she disappeared from public view for several months, a time frame that would seem to line up with a February birth.
Little is known about Ri, who accompanied Kim to his father’s funeral in late 2011, sparking widespread speculation about the couple.
It wasn’t until the following year that South Korean intelligence confirmed they had been married since 2009, according to lawmakers briefed on the matter.
Ri was partially educated in China and visited South Korea in 2005 for the Asian Athletic Championships “as a member of North Korea’s cheering squad,” a South Korean lawmaker told CNN in 2012.
She is believed to be around 30 years old.
The Kim family has ruled North Korea since the country’s founding in 1948, but very little is known about its members.
According to NK Leadership Watch, a project of the US-Korea Institute, Kim Il Sung had six children and two wives, while his son and successor Kim Jong Il had seven children with four women. Only one of the women is believed to have been his legal wife, though these figures are unconfirmed and have been contested.
Current supreme leader Kim Jong Un was born to Kim Jong Il’s mistress Ko Young Hee in the early 1980s.
Initially, North Korea watchers expected Kim Jong Il’s eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, to succeed him, but he was sidelined after his father left his mother for Ko in the 1970s.
Kim and Ko had two sons, Kim Jong Un and Kim Jong Chul. Though Kim Jong Un was the youngest, he soon appeared to be being groomed for succession.
Any potential threat that remained from Kim Jong Nam was removed earlier this year, when he was murdered in Kuala Lumpur airport allegedly on the order of Pyongyang.