The Untold Truth Of Kim Yo Jong's Husband

After failing to appear at an event commemorating the birthday of his grandfather, North Korea founder Kim Il Sung, on April 15, 2020, there has been quite a bit of speculation that North Korea leader Kim Jong Un is gravely ill, dead or avoiding people to prevent himself from contracting the coronavirus, per the New York PostThe confusion has brought up a string of questions, including who will replace him if he dies? The likely answer is his sister, Kim Yo Jong. But what are her qualifications? 

Kim Yo Jong holds various high positions in the regime. According to Biography.comafter following in her brother and late father's footsteps and joining the Workers' Party of Korea in 2007at one point, she ended up being a secretariat for her father, Kim Jong Il, until he passed away in 2011. Over the years, she's also served as the "first vice-department director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department," per Kim Yo Jung also became "an alternate member of the WPK's powerful politburo." 

Additionally, the politician has plenty of power in the country and is one of her brother's closest advisers, per Time

Kim Yo Jong was born into a powerful family

Before Kim Jong Un took over the position of Supreme Leader of North Korea, it was held by his father, Kim Jong Il, who also took it over from his own father. As Kim Jong Un has no adult children (only three little ones, including a young daughter named Kim Ju Ae), it's only natural that the responsibility to oversee the country will fall on his sister and right-hand woman, Kim Yo Jong.

Still, reports indicate that because Kim Yo Jong is a woman, her taking over is not necessarily a given."It's definitely possible that she would face some serious challenges to her legitimacy and power if she took over, even with the Kim family name," Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. State Department official who specialized in the Koreas, told Time. Instead, Kim Pyong Il, her and Kim Jong Un's uncle, could be next in line for the job, per Bloomberg. 

According to Bloomberg, Kim Pyong Il "is the last known surviving son of North Korea's founder, Kim Il Sung." And while he has spent the last four decades traveling the world from one diplomatic post to another, he returned to Pyongyang, the capital of North Korea, in 2019.

If Kim Yo Jong does end up taking over for her brother as Supreme Leader of North Korea, she would be the "world's first known female dictator," per Mashable.

Kim Yo Jong keeps her personal life private

So who is Kim Yo Jong? While North Korea's next potential leader is the younger sister of Kim Jong Un, she also has a few other siblings, including another brother and a half-sister, according to Her parents were Kim Jong Il, the second leader of North Korea, and "his consort Ko Yong-hui, a Japanese Korean dancer." The Washington Post reported that, "like her older brothers," she attended school in Switzerland. She reportedly returned to North Korea in the early 2000s. 

According to the North Korea Leadership Watch blog, "[a]s early as 2002, Kim Jong Il proudly told foreign interlocutors that his youngest daughter (Yo Jong) was interested in politics and wanted a career" in North Korea's political system. These days, the powerful politician is nicknamed the "Ivanka Trump of North Korea," which is fitting since they have developed such close ties to the Trumps, per Forbes 

Kim Yo Jong is incredibly secretive about her personal life, though reports state that she's married and has two kids. Her husband is Choe Song, who is reportedly the son of one of the country's most powerful officials, Choe Ryong Hae, described as Kim Jong Un's "Number Two." Kim Yo Jong and Choe married in 2014, according to The Sun, and had one child in 2015 and another in 2018

Kim Yo Jong married within the regime

Reports of Kim Yo Jong and Choe Song's secret union came on New Year's Day in 2015, when Rodong Sinmun, "the official newspaper of the ruling party," published photos showing Kim Yo Jong wearing a ring on that finger during a visit to an orphanage in Pyongyang, according to The Sun. A source then confirmed the rumor to South Korean news agency Yonhap (via The Sun): "As far as I know, Kim Yo Jong, deputy director of the Worker's Party, got married to a son of the party secretary Choe Ryong Hae."

While little is known about Choe Song, quite a bit is known about his father. As of this writing, Choe Ryong Hae is "serving as president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly, which has the power to approve laws, ratify treaties with other countries, remove officials and grant special pardons," according to The Sun. In 1967, Choe Ryong Hae joined the Korean People's Army. Over the years, he has held various positions within the regime, including serving as Kim Jong Un's right-hand man.