The National Intelligence Service said it continues to explore all possibilities related to Pyongyang's succession plan. The agency also acknowledges that there are many variables at play in the succession, given that Kim Jong Un is relatively young and does not have major health problems.
For this reason, the issue of succession is still far from being settled in North Korea.
NIS notes that Kim Ju Ae has been in the public eye continuously since her first appearance in late 2022. Based on a comprehensive analysis of his public activities and the respect surrounding Kim Ju Ae, he appears to be the most likely successor to Kim Jong Un.
Kim Ju Ae, who is estimated to be around 10 years old, has also changed her public mention. At first, she was referred to as a popular girl, but more recently she has been treated as a respectable girl. The BBC points out that this change in terminology carries great weight in North Korean culture.
The term “respectable” is usually used for people who are highly regarded within a country. For example, Kim Jong Un himself was not named a respected comrade until after his future leadership role became all but certain.
Cover image credit: Kim Jae-Hwan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images