Amid reports Kim Jong Un is in "grave condition" after surgery, it begs the question about the chain of command behind the dictator, since he has no heir apparent.
That leaves Kim's brother and sister as the leading candidates, the New York Post reported.
Kim Yo Jong is the most powerful woman in North Korea, a senior member of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea, but it is unlikely the country's patriarchal politics that hands power over to male heirs would give leadership over to a woman, according to the report.
That leaves older brother Kim Jong Chol, who was passed over when their father Kim Jong Il died in 2011. Kim Jong Un reportedly ordered the murder his half-brother Kim Jong Nam in a nerve agent attack by two women assassins at a Kuala Lumpur airport.
Kim Jong Chol has not been targeted because he has not been considered to have political ambitions, according to the report.
Kim Jong Chol has shown an interest in music and playing the guitar, once spotted at an Eric Clapton concert in London in 2015.
Academics fear political upheaval if the family's 72-year reign ends, and the U.S. reportedly has contingency plans in place if there is a humanitarian crisis, according to the report.
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