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Kim Jong Un Has Started Succession Planning, Says Expert: 'Likely To Rule…For The Next 50 Years'

Benzinga logo Benzinga 1/25/2023 Navdeep Yadav
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North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un may already have started his succession plan, according to an expert.

What Happened: Seong Hyon Lee, a senior fellow at the George H.W. Bush Foundation, in an op-ed for Nikkei Asia, said Kim's daughter, who was recently spotted in three public appearances, could be the next possible heir. 

"It might seem unusually early to introduce her as his presumed heir, though, since Kim Jong Un is just 39. Kim Jong Il, his father, ruled the country until he died of a stroke in 2011 at age 70 while grandfather Kim Il Sung, the founder of the regime, governed until his death at 82," Lee said.

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"Kim Jong Un looks likely to rule the nation for the next 50 years or more. But he may have a reason to reveal a possible successor early," added Lee.

Lee pointed out that Kim faced difficulty establishing his status — both domestically and internationally, including with China — after his father’s death, and this could be a possible reason for introducing his daughter Ju Ae at an early age. 

Ju Ae’s first appearance at a missile launch site was seen as a one-time event by many experts, with some of them even calling it staged to highlight the dictator’s fatherly image. However, after the second and third appearances, there have been speculations about whether she is being groomed as Kim’s successor. 

The official Workers’ Party newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, also called her the North Korean leader's “most beloved child.”

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