The sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is reportedly pregnant with her second child, according to sources close to the South Korean newspaper the Chosun Ilbo.
Kim Yo-jong, 30, apparently told regime officials that she was expecting a newborn while attending the Winter Olympics in South Korea, although the government has not confirmed any such news.
The claim comes after Yo-jong attracted a huge amount of attention at the games, where she was photographed sitting behind U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. Yet viewers also noticed what appeared to be a small bump in her stomach and a habit of moving cautiously which fueled speculation she might be pregnant.
“It seems the reason Kim Jong-un’s household steward Kim Chang-son accompanied the North Korean delegation was because Yo-jong is pregnant and required special care,” a defector told the newspaper.
Relatively little is known about Yo-jong, who is the daughter of the ‘Dear Leader’ Kim Jong-il and his mistress Ko Yong-hui. Analysts say she maintains a close relationship with her brother after the pair both attended a secluded boarding school in Switzerland for their education.
South Korean National Intelligence Service officials believe she had her first child with her husband in 2015, who is believed to be a man from an ordinary background that the Kim regime believe is less likely to betray them.
The claims of her pregnancy come just a month after Kim Jong-un promoted his sister as the head of the country’s state security apparatus, a position previously held by Kim’s uncle Jang Song-thaek. Jang abruptly disappeared from the public eye before resurfacing as a villain in North Korean state media. Reports suggested that Kim ordered his uncle killed by being fed to dogs.
Yo-jong has long been a powerful figure within the regime and is regularly photographed at high profile events. She reportedly plays an important role in the regime’s propaganda machine aiming to portray her brother as a flawless leader and individual.
Last October, she became just the second woman in North Korean history to join the Communist Party Politburo and she is believed to have been temporarily placed in charge back in 2014 when her brother became ill and took a leave of absence.
Kim Jong-un’s private life has also been a topic of debate. Having married his wife Ri Sol-ju back in 2009, he is understood to have at least one daughter named Ju-ae, although South Korean media have speculated he could have many more.