- Kim Jong Un’s daughter has been known to the world as Kim Ju Ae since North Korea debuted her in 2022.
- But a former South Korean spy veteran says her name is actually Kim Eun Ju, per The Korea Times.
- He said the wrong name originated from a miscommunication Dennis Rodman had with Kim Jong Un.
A retired South Korean spy said the world has been giving the wrong name to daughter of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, The Korea Times reported.
The former intelligence officer, Choe Su Yong, told the outlet Kim’s daughter has been known as Kim Ju Ae, but that she’s likely actually called Kim Eun Ju.
Choe, who worked in the counter-espionage division for 20 years at South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, said the wrong name originated from former NBA star Dennis Rodman, per The Times.
Rodman has visited North Korea several times, and claims to have a close friendship with Kim. Choe said that on one of his visits, the basketball legend had a miscommunication with Kim over the girl’s name.
“I heard that Kim introduced his daughter to Rodman during his visit to North Korea, saying in Korean that ‘jeo-ae’ is his daughter. Rodman seemed to have misunderstood the Korean word ‘jeo-ae’ as her name,” Choe told The Times, citing sources in North Korea.
Choe said Kim instead used the words “jeo-ae” to mean “that girl” in Korean, per The Times.
Rodman had in 2013 told The Guardian that Kim’s daughter was named Ju Ae, saying he visited North Korea and held the girl in his arms when she was a baby.
A representative for Rodman did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider sent outside regular business hours.
South Korean officials and intelligence services have since referred to Kim’s daughter as “Kim Ju Ae,” and a year later, she continues to feature heavily in North Korean propaganda.
The girl, believed to be 11, is one of at least three children fathered by Kim. However, Choe told The Times that Kim has four kids, again citing sources in North Korea.
The Times reported that Choe retired from intelligence services in 2010 and declined to share details about his sources for their safety.
Personal details of Kim’s family are kept under wraps by North Korea, making it notoriously difficult for foreign observers to learn or confirm much about his children.
The country bans its citizens from having the name “Jong Un,” and a Radio Free Asia report previously cited two anonymous sources from North Korea saying that authorities had ordered girls called “Ju Ae” to change their names because of Kim’s daughter.
South Korea’s Unification Ministry, the country’s main authority for dealings with North Korea, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BI sent via email.