Apparently, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un is a new father, according to America's foremost expert on North Korean politics, Dennis Rodman. Before reading the rest of this post, we recommend seeking out a large grain of salt.
Rodman dropped the news in an interview to the British tabloid The Sun, which is to the media what Dennis Rodman is to diplomacy. The Sun buried the detail in its 30th paragraph.
[A]pparently unaware he was revealing one of the paranoid regime’s biggest state secrets — whether Kim has an heir who can take over from him when he dies — he added: “[Kim's wife Ri Sol Ju] kept talking about their beautiful baby daughter."
He continued: “The palace was amazing and there was marble everywhere — it was very impressive.
That detail (about the baby, not the palace) was spotted by NKNews.org, an actually useful source of information on the veiled country. Its article provides context:
While North Korea has never officially confirmed the news, South Korean intelligence services “confirmed” that Ri Sol Ju had a baby in late 2012. Speculation that the baby was a girl has been circulating on the South Korean internet ever since, but today’s development marks the first time it has been corroborated by an independent source.
“If it was a boy, [the North Koreans] would have made an announcement,” Michael Madden, author of NK Leadership Watch said. A boy would be seen as a more viable heir to the North Korean “throne” in the event of a fourth generation leadership transition.
In January, we noted some of the existing evidence, such as an all-female concert that performed When a Child Is Born. NKNews describes some of South Korea's other rigorous intelligence analysis, including Ri Sol Ju's change in hairstyle.
And if you needed any convincing that you can learn a lot about a person from a hairstyle, well, there's always Dennis Rodman.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.