Who Is Next In Line To Rule North Korea

Background Information

North Korea is an East Asian country located between China and South Korea that is ruled by the Kim dynasty. Its current leader, Kim Jong-Un, assumed office in 2011 and is the absolute ruler of the nation. Kim is the third-generation leader of North Korea and is the son of former leader Kim Jong-Il. Following Kim’s death in December 2011, his son increased his control over the country and is considered to be the absolute ruler in North Korea.
Since Kim’s reign, North Korea has made significant progress in its nuclear weapons program, leading to the country being equipped with nuclear missiles. Kim has strengthened the relationship between North Korea and China. In addition, Kim has opened the doors for international dialogue, meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-In and US President Donald Trump for peace talks.

Key Challenges

Since Kim’s rule, North Korea has continued to be one of the poorest and isolated countries in the world. The country suffers from food insecurity and economic uncertainty due to strict ruling, international sanctions and the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, the human rights situation in North Korea is dismal. Foreign media and international organizations have described the country’s totalitarian regime as one of the most oppressive in the world.

Experts’ Perspectives

Experts on the Asian region opine that Kim Jong-Un’s rule has been relatively successful in terms of domestic stability and economic growth. However, they believe Kim’s policies have led to increased authoritarianism and human rights abuses. While economic sanctions have caused some hardships, experts contend that much of the North Korean economy was already performing poorly due to the system’s inherent inefficiencies.
Most international observers are of the opinion that North Korea’s absolute power structure and government policies favor Kim Jong-Un’s rule and preclude any potential for successful democratic reform. As a result, experts anticipate that North Korea will continue to be ruled by a single-party system and that Kim Jong-Un is likely to remain in power for at least the foreseeable future.


The primary question for North Korea is who will be the next ruler after Kim Jong-Un. Kim is believed to have three children: two sons and a daughter. His eldest son, Kim Jong-Chul, is a businessman and sports enthusiast, while his second son, Kim Jong-Un, is a schoolboy. His daughter, Kim Yo-Jong, is a top official in the ruling Korean Workers’ Party and is seen as the most likely successor to Kim Jong-Un.


Despite Kim Yo-Jong’s high profile and influence in the country, it is still uncertain as to who will eventually lead North Korea after the reign of her brother. Given the dynastical nature of the Kim dynasty, it is likely that Kim Yo-Jong will be the chosen successor, although this is still a matter of speculation.
North Korea is a highly secretive country, making it difficult to make any definitive conclusions on the future of the nation. However, experts argue that given the nature of the country’s one-party system, Kim Yo-Jong is the most likely successor of Kim Jong-Un’s reign.

Family Support

The Kim family has been in power for more than 70 years. Kim Jong-Il, who ruled between 1994 and 2011, was ultimately succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-Un. The background and experience of Kim Jong-Il reveals a concerted effort by North Korean society to uphold the family line and maintain stability. This is evidenced by the fact that both Kim Jong-Il and his son were in their 40s when they assumed office.
Similar to his father, Kim Jong-Un is likely to favor one of his siblings over any outside candidate when considering a successor to his rule. Kim Yo-Jong is seen as the best-equipped candidate to maintain the dynasty given her experience as a highly influential official in the Korean Workers’ Party and her close ties to her brother.

Political Power

Kim Yo-Jong has emerged as one of the most powerful figures in North Korea. She has been described by observers as possessing a strong personality, strong loyalty to her family, and a powerful charisma able to project her influence internally and externally. In addition, she is seen as the most adept in securing a relationship between North Korea and the west due to her skills in diplomacy, a trait which is lacking in her brother.
Kim Yo-Jong has been instrumental in the North’s moves towards strengthening its international relationships and making progress in the nuclear weapons program. She is also believed to be behind the publication of fiery statements attacking South Korea and the US, a tactic seen as necessary for North Korea’s attempts to pressure foreign states into serious negotiations.

Domestic Support

Kim Yo-Jong has been able to secure the support of the North Korean people, even more so than her brother. In response to Kim Jong-Un’s absence from the recent Worker’s Party Congress, speculation was rife within North Korean society that Kim Yo-Jong had been chosen as the new ruler.
Furthermore, Kim Yo-Jong has become a symbol and a figurehead in North Korean society. She is credited by the North Korean people for her efforts to improve the lives of North Korean citizens and her commitment to economic development in the country. This is evidenced by the fact that many North Korean citizens praise her in public demonstrations, while her brother is often absent from similar demonstrations.

Fears of Change

Despite the fact that Kim Yo-Jong may be the most likely successor for North Korea’s rule, there are also fears of change. North Korean citizens are well aware of the nation’s recent history, which has been marked by fear and repression.
There is a concern that Kim Yo-Jong’s rule may bring significant change to North Korea’s governing systems and society, potentially even more oppressive than Kim Jong-Un’s rule. In addition, the international community is wary that any potential for peace in the region may be destroyed should Kim Yo-Jong take over.

The Kim Dynasty

Today, the Kim dynasty continues to control North Korea, with Kim Jong-Un as its absolute ruler. The focus of the international community is on the question of who will be next in line to lead the country once Kim Jong-Un’s reign is over.
Despite the focus on Kim Yo-Jong as the most likely successor, the future of the Kim dynasty remains uncertain. Whether Kim Yo-Jong will follow in the footsteps of her father and brother or whether she will steer North Korea in a new, unprecedented direction is yet to be determined.

International Relations

The future of North Korea’s relations with the international community remains in question. Under Kim Jong-Un, the North had made significant progress in engaging with international players, particularly with South Korea and the US.
It is uncertain whether Kim Yo-Jong will be able to continue this progress and maintain the delicate peace process between North and South Korea. There are also questions as to whether she will maintain the friendship that was started between North Korea and the US under her brother’s rule.


The future of North Korea is uncertain in many ways, particularly in regards to who will rule the nation once Kim Jong-Un’s reign is over. While Kim Yo-Jong is seen as the most qualified candidate and likely successor, it is yet to be determined whether or not she will be able to secure and maintain power in the same way that her father and brother have. Questions about North Korea’s relations with the international community and whether it will continue to make progress remain unanswered.

Cassie Grissom is an American journalist and author living in Seoul, South Korea. She has been studying the Korean peninsula since 2011, and her work focuses on understanding human rights issues in North Korea. In addition to her work as an author, Cassie is an active advocate for human rights in North Korea. She regularly shares stories about life in North Korea with international audiences to raise awareness of the plight of its citizens.

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