ANKARA: The South Korean spy agency believed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's public appearance with his young daughter demonstrated his intention to hand over power to his children, local media reported.
During a closed-door briefing to lawmakers on Thursday, the South Korean spy agency also shared its assessment of former North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and said apparently he has been purged, The Korea Herald reported.
“The NIS (National Intelligence Service) believes North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's public appearance with his daughter is intended to showcase his will to pass on the regime to his children,”
The Daily quoted Youn Kun-young, a lawmaker, as telling reporters after the meeting.
Since November, North Korean state-run media has been publishing Kim's photographs accompanying his young daughter during visits to Defense Ministry's missile and weapons sites.
However, Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong, who is the vice department director of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, is also considered by some analysts to be a possible successor.
Kim took the power in the country in 2011 after the death of his father Kim Jong-II, who was the second supreme leader.
Kim's grandfather Kim II-sung was the first supreme leader of North Korea from 1948 to 1994.
NIS also confirmed former North Korean Foreign Minister Ri was purged but did not confirm his execution, according to The Daily.
Earlier, a Japanese news outlet Yomiuri Shimbun reported that Ri was apparently executed last year.
“It is unclear at this point whether he was executed,” Youn said.
In June last year, North Korea appointed Choe Son Hui as the first female foreign minister, replacing Ri.