New Missiles, Daughter Ju Ae

Kim Jong's performance at the grand parade: New Missile, Daughter of Ju Ae

Kim Jong Un with his daughter, believed to be named Ju Ae.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un displayed his latest assets to protect his reign: a fast-attack missile that could deliver a nuclear warhead to the US, and a guaranteed less than 1-year-old daughter. His family’s continued rule of the dynasty was shaped during the Cold War.

Images released by official state media on Thursday of a military parade in Pyongyang showed the regime’s biggest display of intercontinental ballistic missiles in Kim’s decade in power. These include 11 Hwasong-17 rockets, which experts say is the largest ICBM in the world, and five canisters for a new solid-fuel ICBM.

The display of weapons and his daughter, believed to be Ju Ae, about 10 years old, sent a message to the world that North Korea would not soon be bargaining for its nuclear arsenal. They also told his people that the high cost of the nuclear weapons program to the economy was worth it because it protected the next generation of North Koreans.

“Kim Ju Ae’s appearance at these high-profile events shows that her father, Kim Jong Un, is seeking to reinforce the immutability between his country’s nuclear weapons program and his identity and capabilities. his family’s ability to survive,” said Soo Kim, a former CIA analyst on South Korea who now works. regional leader in policy practice at the US-based management consulting firm LMI.

All ICBMs are mounted on mobile launchers and most of them have been displayed at a parade. This increases the chance that his strike could overwhelm the US missile defense system. Solid-fuel missiles will be easier to travel and fire faster than the state’s current arsenal of liquid-fuel ICBMs, giving Washington less time to shoot down a missile.

Joseph Dempsey, Research Specialist in Defense and Military Analysis at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said: “The use of canisters clearly implies solid-fuel rockets, as they are manufactured. fuel ahead of time and require less access.” “Of course, in the box we don’t see the actual missile associated with this system and for parade purposes it’s likely empty anyway.”

North Korea has been working on solid-fuel missiles for years and in recent months has tested new engines that could be used in longer-range weapons designed to hit US military bases. in Japan and Guam, as well as ICBMs to attack the continental United States. .

Joost Oliemans, a weapons expert and co-author of the book Armed Forces of North Korea, said Pyongyang also appears to be developing ballistic missiles and silo-based missiles that can carry multiple warheads. This is called an independent multiple-target re-entry vehicle, or MIRV. .

“Perhaps more importantly, there is no doubt that North Korea has invested heavily in MIRV and decoy technology, which could cause some serious trouble for its Ground Self-Defense Force. America,” he said.

The Hwasong-17 is designed to carry multiple warheads and North Korea says it was successfully tested last year. Kim’s daughter made her state media debut in November at one of these tests, when she held her father’s hand and strolled by an ICBM before launch.

Since then, she has appeared prominently in state media. At the parade, she stepped into her father’s arms as the soldiers clapped. She then sat on a chair of honor to watch festivities that included neon-lit skydivers descending onto the grounds and thousands of military personnel dancing in praise of Kim.

State media now call her a “respected daughter” and the appearances have fueled speculation that she is being groomed for a leadership role. In 2010, Kim Jong Un, then 26 years old, made his public debut in a military parade with his father, Kim Jong Il.

His presence that day, plus the fact that he had been promoted to a four-star general and given prominent positions within the ruling party a few weeks earlier, were signs that he was a clear heir.

It is highly unlikely that Kim Jong Un will appoint his elementary school-age daughter to a government role, a move that almost guarantees her official status. Given Kim’s relatively young age of 39, he could hold power for decades. However, he is overweight and a heavy smoker, is battling health problems, so succession is a topic of interest.

Rachel Minyoung Lee, regional affairs director for the Vienna-based Open Nuclear Network, said the way the state media has covered Ju Ae in recent times is remarkable, but it’s too early to tell. read anything about its successor.

“At this point, I remain skeptical, just because succession is a brutal power game, one that requires a lot of balancing act and, therefore, prudent handling in the media. North Korean media,” Lee said, adding that Ju Ae’s appearance had a powerful propaganda effect on some people. including reinforcing the importance of weapons development and production for the security of future generations.

Ju Ae’s prominence is just the latest example of Kim’s willingness to share the spotlight with prominent women. Besides frequently appearing with his wife, he has also made his sister, Kim Yo Jong, the face of the regime’s dealings with the US and South Korea. He also recently made Choe Son Hui the country’s first female foreign minister.

Duyeon Kim, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security in Seoul, said the new role given to the leader’s daughter could be part of a power game aimed at controlling his sister. .

She said, “Kim Yo Jong has been in public for a while but seems to have faded in the most recent context when his daughter made her public debut.

Since coming to power a decade ago, Kim Jong Un has defied predictions that his regime will weaken.

North Korea’s ability to launch a nuclear attack has grown to the point where there are calls for Pyongyang to be declared a nuclear weapons state. This change will lead to a reshuffle of decades-old US policy to prevent that from happening, while seeking a complete, verifiable, and irreversible end to the US arsenal. atom of this country.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)

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