Heir unapparent: If North Korea faces succession, who might replace Kim?

North Korea has never announced who would follow leader Kim Jong-un in the event he is incapacitated, and with no details known about his young children, analysts say his sister and loyalists could form a regency until a successor is old enough to take over.

South Korean and Chinese officials have publicly cast doubt on reports that Kim was gravely ill following a cardiovascular procedure, after his absence from a key state anniversary event on April 15 triggered speculation about his health.

But the media reports sparked questions about who is in place to take over if Kim, thought to be about 36, a third-generation hereditary leader, fell seriously ill or died. He became leader when his father Kim Jong Il died in 2011 from a heart attack.

Each change at the top in North Korea has raised the prospect of a leadership vacuum or collapse of the Kim dynasty, which has ruled the country since its founding in 1948.

So far, each of the three Kims to rule North Korea has defied expectations, holding on to power with an iron grip. But under Kim Jong-un, North Korea's arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles has grown substantially, raising concerns over who would control them.

The following are key figures in the North Korean leadership circle and what role they may play in any transition.

18 PHOTOS
Kim Yo Jong
See Gallery
Kim Yo Jong
TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump (2nd R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (2nd L) sign documents as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) and the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo Jong (L) look on at a signing ceremony during their historic US-North Korea summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. - Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un became on June 12 the first sitting US and North Korean leaders to meet, shake hands and negotiate to end a decades-old nuclear stand-off. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, attends wreath laying ceremony at Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum in Hanoi, March 2, 2019. (Photo by JORGE SILVA / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read JORGE SILVA/AFP via Getty Images)
Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, speaks with North Korean officials during a bilateral meeting with Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, chairwoman of Vietnam's National Assembly, at the National Assembly in Hanoi on March 1, 2019. (Photo by SeongJoon Cho / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read SEONGJOON CHO/AFP via Getty Images)
HANOI, VIETNAM - MARCH 01: Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and North Korean officials during a welcoming ceremony at the President Palace on March 1, 2019 in Hanoi, Vietnam. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un began his two-day official visit to Vietnam on Friday after his second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi which ended without an agreement made. (Photo by Tuan Mark/Getty Images)
PANMUNJOM, SOUTH KOREA - JUNE 12: In this handout photo provided by the Ministry of Unification, Kim Yo-Jong (R), sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, shakes hands with Chung Eui-yong (L), South Korea's top national security advisor, during a meeting to deliver a condolence message and flowers on her brother's behalf for former first lady Lee He-ho's funeral at border village of Panmunjom between South and North Korea on June 12, 2019 in Panmunjom, South Korea. The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is due to deliver a condolence message and some flowers to South Korea at the border village of Panmunjom today after the death of former South Korean first lady Lee Hee-ho. Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho and Rep. Park Jie-won of the minor opposition Party of Democracy and Peace will accept the message and flowers. (Photo by South Korean Ministry of Unification via Getty Images)
PANMUNJOM, SOUTH KOREA - JUNE 12: In this handout photo provided by the Ministry of Unification, Kim Yo-Jong (R), sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, talks with Chung Eui-yong (L), South Korea's top national security advisor, during a meeting to deliver a condolence message and flowers on her brother's behalf for former first lady Lee He-ho's funeral at border village of Panmunjom between South and North Korea on June 12, 2019 in Panmunjom, South Korea. The sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is due to deliver a condolence message and some flowers to South Korea at the border village of Panmunjom today after the death of former South Korean first lady Lee Hee-ho. Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, Vice Unification Minister Suh Ho and Rep. Park Jie-won of the minor opposition Party of Democracy and Peace will accept the message and flowers. (Photo by South Korean Ministry of Unification via Getty Images)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un's Sister Kim Yo Jong holds a flower bouquet during a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi on March 1, 2019. (Photo by LUONG THAI LINH / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read LUONG THAI LINH/AFP via Getty Images)
Kim Yo Jong, the younger sister of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is arrives at the Singapore's Gardens by the Bay, Marina Bay Sands on night before summit on June 11, 2018 in Singapore. (Photo by Chris Jung/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA - MAY 31, 2018: North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un's sister Kim Yo-jong seen at Kumsusan Palace of the Sun. Valery Sharifulin/TASS (Photo by Valery Sharifulin TASS via Getty Images)
PANMUNJOM, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 27: North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un (L), sister Kim Yo Jong (R) attend the Inter-Korean Summit at the Peace House on April 27, 2018 in Panmunjom, South Korea. Kim and Moon meet at the border today for the third-ever inter-Korean summit talks after the 1945 division of the peninsula, and first since 2007 between then President Roh Moo-hyun of South Korea and Leader Kim Jong-il of North Korea. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images)
PANMUNJOM, NORTH KOREA - MAY 26: In this handout image provided by South Korean Presidential Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in (R) shakes hands with Kim Yo-Jong (C) sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un upon his arrival for the meeting on May 26, 2018 in Panmunjom, North Korea. North and South Korean leaders held the surprise second summit after U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled the meeting with Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. Trump has since indicated that the meeting could take place a day after. (Photo by South Korean Presidential Blue House via Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 11: In this handout image provided by the South Korean Presidential Blue House, North Korea's nominal head of state Kim Yong-Nam (L) weeps while watching a performance of North Korea's Samjiyon Orchestra with Kim Yo-Jong, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un's sister and South Koran President Moon Jae-In (3rd R) at National Theater on February 11, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by South Korean Presidential Blue House via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, his wife Kim Jung-sook, IOC President Thomas Bach, President of North Korea Kim Yong-nam, Kim Yo-jong, sister of Kim Jong-un attend the women's ice hockey preliminary match between Korea and Switzerland during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
GANGNEUNG, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: Swiss President Alain Berset shakes hands with Kim Yo-jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, during the Women's Ice Hockey Preliminary Round - Group B game between Switzerland and Korea on day one of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, South Korea. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 10: President of South Korea Moon Jae-in, IOC President Thomas Bach, President of North Korea Kim Yong-nam, Kim Yo-jong, sister of Kim Jong-un came down on the ice to greet the players of united Korea despite the defeat following the women's ice hockey preliminary match between Korea and Switzerland during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Kwandong Hockey Centre on February 10, 2018 in Gangneung, Pyeongchang, South Korea. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's sister Kim Yo Jong (R) and North Korea's ceremonial head of state Kim Yong Nam attend the women's preliminary round ice hockey match between Switzerland and the Unified Korean team during the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Kwandong Hockey Centre in Gangneung on February 10, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images)
US Vice President Mike Pence (R), North Korea's Kim Jong Uns sister Kim Yo Jong (C) and wife of US Vice President Karen Pence attend the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at the Pyeongchang Stadium on February 9, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Odd ANDERSEN (Photo credit should read ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)
PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA - FEBRUARY 09: Kim Yo Jong, sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, arrives at the opening ceremony of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 9, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Patrick Semansky - Pool /Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

KIM YO-JONG

Kim's younger sister has been the most visible presence around the leader in the past two years, serving formally as a vice director of the ruling Workers' Party's powerful Central Committee but unofficially as her brother's chief of staff.

Kim Yo-jong was named an alternate member of the ruling Workers' Party's powerful Central Committee Politburo this month, continuing her climb through the leadership hierarchy.

The leader's sister, believed to be 31, has a firm control of key party functions, setting herself to be the main source of power behind a collective leadership.

"Kim Yo-jong will be for the time being the main power base with control of the organisation and guidance department, the judiciary and public security," said Cho Han-bum of the Korea Institute for National Unification, a government-funded think-tank in Seoul.

PARTY ELDERS

Choe Ryong Hae rose to be North Korea's nominal head of state last year as president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly.

This capped decades of service with the party for the ruling Kim family, following his role as the influential political head of the military under the young leader.

Choe and Pak Pong Ju, a fellow politburo member and former state premier who oversaw the North's push to introduce more free-market functions to revive its economy, are likely to be the figureheads leading a collective leadership, analysts say.

Kim Yong-chol, a party vice chairman and former top nuclear envoy not related to the Kim dynasty, and Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon could be tasked with handling diplomatic issues, including stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States, as they played a key role in Kim Jong-un's summits with U.S. President Donald Trump.

ESTRANGED BROTHERS, AUNT

Kim Jong-chol is the leader's older brother but has not been part of the country's leadership, instead leading a quiet life playing music, according to Thae Yong Ho, North Korea's former deputy ambassador in London, who defected to the South.

He is believed to be disinterested in public life and is unlikely to emerge as a major presence, though some analysts say he maintains ties with siblings and could play a more public role in a contingency.

Kim Kyong-hui was once a powerful figure in the leadership circle when her brother Kim Jong-il ruled the country. But she has not been seen since her husband, Jang Song Thaek, once regarded as the second most powerful man in the country, was executed in 2013 by Kim Jong-un. She has long been ill but briefly appeared early this year at a gala performance alongside her nephew.

FOURTH GENERATION

Kim Jong-un is believed to have three children with Ri Sol Ju, the youngest born in 2017, according to the South's National Intelligence Service.

The oldest is a 10-year-old son, meaning any of the three would need the assistance of their relatives or political guardians if they were to become a fourth-generation hereditary leader.

Kim Jong-il had been groomed for 20 years to lead the country, while Kim Jong-un had just over a year to prepare, due to his father's sudden death from a heart attack.

"Kim Yo-jong is unlikely to take over the helm but could help build a caretaker regime as a power broker until the kids grow up, and Kim Jong-chol might return to help for a while," said Go Myong-hyun, a research fellow at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.

59 PHOTOS
Inside Kim Jong-un's bizarre and brutal regime
See Gallery
Inside Kim Jong-un's bizarre and brutal regime
As Rumours Surface of Kim Jong Un’s Ill Health, Spotlight on His Sister as Possible Power Centre
People react as they see North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a mass rally and parade in the capital's main ceremonial square, a day after the ruling party wrapped up its first congress in 36 years by elevating him to party chairman, in Pyongyang, North Korea, May 10, 2016. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un provides field guidance at the construction site of Ryomyong Street in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on March 16, 2017. KCNA/via ReutersATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS.Ê TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Un satélite localiza el tren de Kim Jong Un en un balneario nocoreano
Satellite photos locate Kim Jong Un’s train as health rumours persist
Cette photographie satellite du train personnel de Kim Jong-un est l'un des rares indices quant à l'état de santé du dictateur nord-coréen.
A woman works at the Kim Jong Suk silk mill in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. The silk mill, named after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's grandmother, is where more than a thousand workers – mostly women – sort and process silkworms to produce silk thread. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the Kumsong Tractor Factory in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on November 15, 2017. KCNA via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to various units in Samjiyon County, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang December 9, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects the long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Visitors walk before a viewpoint overlooking the North Korean shoreline (C) and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
In this Nov. 26, 2019, photo, men wait for public transport near a propaganda photo showing North Korean 'soldiers-builders' in downtown Pyongyang, North Korea. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump have signaled their affection for each other so regularly it might be easy to miss rising fears that the head-spinning diplomatic engagement of the past two years is falling apart. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is hugged by children during his visit to Samjiyon County in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 28, 2016. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A woman works at the Kim Jong Suk silk mill in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. The silk mill, named after North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's grandmother, is where more than a thousand workers – mostly women – sort and process silkworms to produce silk thread. (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a newly built sports goods factory in Pyongyang in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on June 2, 2016. KCNA/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects Samjiyon County, in this undated photo released on October 30, 2018 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA/via REUTERS. ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides a drill of mortar sub-units of North Korean Army in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on April 10, 2020. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un visits Taesong Department Store just before its opening, in this photo released on April 8, 2019 by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with the delegation that had visited the United States, in Pyongyang, North Korea in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 23, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a nursery in Kangwon Province in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 24, 2018. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un hold a summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is seen as the newly developed intercontinental ballistic rocket Hwasong-15's test was successfully launched, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang November 30, 2017. REUTERS/KCNA ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
An image of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and China's President Xi Jinping is displayed during a North Korean delegation's visit in Beijing, China, in this photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 30, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose for photographs on the top of Mt. Paektu, North Korea September 20, 2018. Pyeongyang Press Corps/Pool via REUTERS TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un smiles as he provides field guidance at a catfish plant in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 5, 2018. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reacts with members of the Korean People's Army scientists and engineers in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Command of the Strategic Force of the Korean People's Army (KPA) in an unknown location in North Korea in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on August 15, 2017. KCNA/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. PICTURE BLURRED AT SOURCE. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un poses with participants during the 8th Congress of the Korean Children's Union (KCU) in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang, North Korea June 8, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
A photo taken on September 13, 2019 shows passengers in the departure area of the airport in North Korea's northern city of Samjiyon. - The monumental construction project in the far reaches of North Korea ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, involves nothing less than the rebuilding of the entire town of Samjiyon, the seat of a county which includes the supposed birthplace of Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation. The plan includes a museum of revolutionary activities, a winter sports training complex, processing plants for blueberries and potatoes -- two of the area's most important crops -- a new railway line to Hyesan, and 10,000 apartments. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / To go with NKorea-politics-economy-construction-Samjiyon, FOCUS by Sebastien Berger (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
In this image made from video of a still image broadcasted by North Korea's KRT on Thursday, Aug. 1, 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, equipped with binoculars, supervises a rocket launch test. North Korea said Thursday, Aug. 1, leader Kim supervised the first test firing of a new multiple rocket launcher system that could potentially enhance its ability to strike targets in South Korea and U.S. military bases there.(KRT via AP Video)
La notizia secondo cui il dittatore sarebbe morto o in stato vegetativo dopo un intervento al cuore è stata diffusa da più fonti. Ma al momento non ci sono conferme
View on euronews
A photo taken on September 10, 2019 shows a car passing along a street in North Korea's northern city of Samjiyon. - The monumental construction project in the far reaches of North Korea ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, involves nothing less than the rebuilding of the entire town of Samjiyon, the seat of a county which includes the supposed birthplace of Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation. The plan includes a museum of revolutionary activities, a winter sports training complex, processing plants for blueberries and potatoes -- two of the area's most important crops -- a new railway line to Hyesan, and 10,000 apartments. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / To go with NKorea-politics-economy-construction-Samjiyon, FOCUS by Sebastien Berger (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
FILE PHOTO: South Korean people watch a TV broadcasting a news report on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Seoul, South Korea, April 21, 2020. REUTERS/Heo Ran/File Photo
Is Kim Jong Un Dead or Alive? Here's What Reports Say About Health Condition of North Korea's Supreme Leader
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un rides a horse as he visits battle sites in areas of Mt Paektu, Ryanggang, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on December 4, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Train Likely Belonging to N Korea's Kim Jong Un Seen at Resort Town Amid Health Speculations: US Monitor
Dirumorkan Wafat, Warganet Ramaikan Twiiter dengan Tagar Kim Jong Un Dead
Visitors look on the northern side at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Sunday, April 26, 2020. A train likely belonging to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been parked at his compound on the country's east coast since last week, satellite imagery showed, amid speculation about his health that has been caused, in part, by a long period out of the public eye. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
A worker carries repair material near a wire fence decorated with ribbons written with messages wishing for the reunification of the two Koreas at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. South Korean officials reported no unusual activity in North Korea on Tuesday following unconfirmed media reports that leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile health after surgery. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (C) looks through a periscope of a submarine during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167 in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang June 16, 2014. REUTERS/KCNA (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY MARITIME) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. NOT FOR USE BY REUTERS THIRD PARTY DISTRIBUTORS. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA
A visitor uses binoculars to see the northern side at the Imjingak Pavilion in Paju, South Korea, Wednesday, April 22, 2020. South Korean officials reported no unusual activity in North Korea on Tuesday following unconfirmed media reports that leader Kim Jong Un was in fragile health after surgery. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
South Korean army soldiers wearing protective suits stand guard at the Unification Bridge, which leads to the Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone in Paju, South Korea, Tuesday, April 21, 2020. The South Korean government said Tuesday no unusual activity has been detected in North Korea after unconfirmed reports described leader Kim Jong Un as in fragile condition after heart surgery. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
A South Korean army soldier watches the North Korea side from the Unification Observation Post in Paju, South Korea, near the border with North Korea, Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2019. U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may be planning to give him "a nice present" such as a "beautiful vase" for Christmas rather than a missile launch.(AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of a Hwasong-12 missile in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on September 16, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
In this image made from video of a still image broadcasted by North Korea's KRT on Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, watches test firings of an unspecified new weapons system at an undisclosed location in North Korea. North Korea said Sunday leader Kim supervised the test-firings, which extended a streak of launches that are seen as an attempt to build leverage ahead of negotiations with the United States while driving a wedge between Washington and Seoul.(KRT via AP Video)
A visitor stands at a viewpoint overlooking the North Korean shoreline (C) and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
South Korean soldiers patrol along a barbed wire fence Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) separating North and South Korea, on the South Korean island of Ganghwa on April 23, 2020. - The United States will keep seeking North Korea's denuclearization no matter who is in charge in Pyongyang, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, amid speculation about leader Kim Jong Un's health. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) (Photo by ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - APRIL 21: People watch a television broadcast reporting on North Korean Kim Jong-un at the Seoul Railway Station on April 21, 2020 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea has seen no unusual signs with regard to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's health, a government source said Tuesday, after US media reported that Kim is "in grave danger after a surgery." (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
PYONGYANG, Dec. 3, 2019 -- Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, attends a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the township of Samjiyon County in the northern part of the DPRK, marking the completion of the county's construction, on Dec. 2, 2019. The Samjiyon County, where Kim's father Kim Jong Il was born, "has turned into an example of a mountainous modern city under socialism," the official Korean Central News Agency said. (Photo by KCNA/Handout/Xinhua via Getty) (Xinhua/ via Getty Images)
A photo taken on September 10, 2019 shows passengers disembarking from a Tupolev TU-134 aircraft upon arrival in North Korea's northern city of Samjiyon. - The monumental construction project in the far reaches of North Korea ordered by leader Kim Jong Un, involves nothing less than the rebuilding of the entire town of Samjiyon, the seat of a county which includes the supposed birthplace of Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il, and Mount Paektu, the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation. The plan includes a museum of revolutionary activities, a winter sports training complex, processing plants for blueberries and potatoes -- two of the area's most important crops -- a new railway line to Hyesan, and 10,000 apartments. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP) / To go with NKorea-politics-economy-construction-Samjiyon, FOCUS by Sebastien Berger (Photo credit should read ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)
North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un sits in his vehicle after arriving at the Dong Dang railway station, Vietnam, at the border with China, February 26, 2019. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a drill of long-range artillery sub-units of the Korean People's Army, in North Korea in this image released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on March 2, 2020.?KCNA?via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects Yangdok Hot Spring Resort in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 14, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un waves to the people during a parade to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of a truce in the 1950-1953 Korean War, at Kim Il-sung Square in Pyongyang July 27, 2013. REUTERS/Jason Lee (NORTH KOREA - Tags: POLITICS MILITARY ANNIVERSARY TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits a submarine factory in an undisclosed location, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on July 23, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visits the Jungphyong Vegetable Greenhouse Farm and Tree Nursery in Kyongsong County, North Korea, in this undated picture released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on October 18, 2019. KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrives at the railway station in the Russian far-eastern city of Vladivostok, Russia, April 24, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un attends a luncheon with Minister for the Development of the Russian Far East Alexander Kozlov and governor of Primorsky Region Oleg Kozhemyako, in this undated photo released on April 27, 2019 by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA). KCNA via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE. NO THIRD PARTY SALES. SOUTH KOREA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un attend an official reception following their talks in Vladivostok, Russia April 25, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Nikolsky/Kremlin via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

FROM OUR PARTNERS