Report: North Korea's Ri Sol Ju gave birth to third child

By Elizabeth Shim
Report: North Korea's Ri Sol Ju gave birth to third child
North Korea’s first lady Ri Sol Ju may have given birth to her third child. Leader Kim Jong Un is likely seeking a male heir, a defector in the South has said. File Photo by Rodong Sinmun/EPA

Aug. 29 (UPI) -- North Korea's first lady Ri Sol Ju may have given birth to a third child, according to South Korea's national intelligence service.

South Korean newspaper Donga Ilbo reported Tuesday that Ri, who is believed to be 28, had given birth to leader Kim Jong Un's third child.


The statement was included in a South Korean intelligence report submitted to parliament on Tuesday.

Ri, who once visited the South with a North Korean cheerleading squad during the Asian Athletics Championship in Incheon in 2005, married Kim in 2009.

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Ri then gave birth to two children, one in 2010 and another in 2013.

The gender of Ri's first child is unknown, but the sex of the second child was revealed after NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman said the Kim couple told him in 2013 their child's name is "Kim Ju Ae," according to the Donga.

The name is typically a girl's name in South Korea.

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Ri may have given birth to a third child in a North Korea where it is increasingly rare for women of childbearing age to have more than two children.


North Korea's current fertility rate is 1.9 children per woman.

It is possible Ri may be giving birth to several children because of the patrilineal nature of the hereditary dictatorship.

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Kim, like his ancestors, may be looking to pass power down the bloodline, and a potential fourth-generation North Korean ruler must be a man following tradition, according to the report.

Ri may have been pressured to give birth to a third child, according to the Donga, if her last two children were girls.

Ahn Chan-il, a researcher and defector in the South, recently told South Korean news network YTN there is "pressure to quickly give birth to a son, because the regime is not so sturdy."

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