Why North Korea’s Kim Jong Un wants you to meet his daughter

Hong Kong

Along with his young daughter at two epic military events this week, Kim Jong Un told the world two things – the Kim family will rule North Korea in a generation and the country will have nuclear weapons to make sure no one can challenge that.

The girl – believed to be Kim’s second child, Ju Ae, about 9 years old – with the North Korean leader and his wife at the a flashy party at a military barracks in Pyongyang on Tuesday night.

A day later, she saw at least 11 intercontinental ballistic missiles. Missiles (ICBMs) parade through Kim Il Sung square in the North Korean capital.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un visited the army officers' barracks with his daughter Kim Ju Ae and his wife, Ri Sol Ju, to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army (KPA). , state media reported on Tuesday.

Leif-Eric Easley, a professor at Ewha University in Seoul, said: “By flaunting both his wife and daughter, Kim wanted domestic and foreign observers to see his family dynasty and the North Korean military. Fairy has an irrevocable connection.”

The Kim family’s rule in North Korea dates back to 1948, when Kim Il Sung came to power after World War II.

When Kim Il Sung died in 1994, his son Kim Jong Il took over – and when Kim Jong Il died, in December 2011, his son Kim Jong Un took over.

Kim Jong Un and his daughter attend a military parade commemorating the founding of the North Korean army, where the latest North Korean weapons are on display on February 8, 2023.

Western observers believe that Kim Jong Un has three children and Ju Ae is his middle child, although this cannot be verified by anyone outside of North Korea.

North Korean media reporting on military events this week have described Ju Ae as Kim’s “respected” and “beloved” son..

American basketball star Dennis Rodman revealed Kim had a child named Ju Ae when he visited Pyongyang in 2013, then told The Guardian: “I held their child Ju Ae and talked too. with (Kim’s wife).

The age of the baby Rodman held appeared to coincide with the age of the girl at this week’s events.

Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the Sejong Institute in South Korea, said there is historical precedent for Kim identifying his successor very early, because that’s what his father, Kim Jong Il, did with you.

Cheong said, “It is reported that Kim Jong Il told his aides that Kim Jong Un would be his successor when he performed a song called ‘Footsteps’ in praise of Kim Jong Un on his 8th birthday. his. However, he added that the outside world was not aware of this at the time.

“There have been rumors and speculations circulating for a long time that Kim Jong Il’s eldest son, Kim Jong Nam, or second son, Kim Jong Chol, will be the successor,” Cheong said.

Speculation that Ju Ae will be Kim’s successor surfaced last November when state media reported it image of her and Kim inspecting a North Korean ballistic missile before test launch.

South Korean lawmaker and secretary of the National Intelligence Service Yoo Sang-bum said after that launch, the girl was believed to be Ju Ae.

North Korean state media ran a story later that month with photos of Kim and his daughter, describing her as his “most beloved” child, Cheong said.

Photos in North Korean media also show the girl visiting a rocket factory with her father near the end of 2022.

Cheong said he was convinced by the girl’s appearance at recent events and the way she was mentioned in state media that she was being prepared to succeed her father.

The state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper mentions the girl before Kim’s wife in stories and uses the adjectives “beloved” and “respected” to convey her special status, he said. .

In this photo provided by the North Korean government, soldiers march during a military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army on Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, North Korea Wednesday , February 8, 2023.

“The beginnings of a personal cult for Kim Ju Ae shows that, although she has not been (awarded) official succession… she has in fact been designated as successor, ‘ said Cheong.

He added that if the girl succeeds her father, she will need the support of the military.

Cheong said, putting her first and center at military events from a young age will allow her to build credibility with the military over time.

Other observers were not convinced.

Her recent appearances may simply be a way to redirect the world’s attention back to the Pyongyang military after audiences tire of watching. a record year of rocket testingChun In-bum, a retired general of South Korea said.

“I think the North Koreans either discovered it by accident or realized that this is a way to attract international attention. And so with all the interest accumulating, they’re enjoying themselves,” he said.

“Throughout their seven-decade history, their successors have always been a mystery to us. Why are they changing the way it works now? So if I bet $5, I’d say she’s not the successor,” Chun said.

While there is still much debate about Ju Ae, there is little doubt about her father’s desire to have enough military power to keep his family in power.

The display of at least 11 Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) on Wednesday night showed that the North Korean military is heeding Kim’s call by the end of 2022 to “exponentially increase the country’s nuclear arsenal in response to what he claimed were threats from South Korea and the United States.

Ankit Panda, a nuclear policy expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said on social media that if each of those missiles were armed with multiple nuclear warheads, they could be massive enough to overwhelm the US ballistic missile defense system.

Following the Hwasong-17s in Wednesday night’s parade were examples of what analysts believe could be a solid-fuel ICBM, a step up in technology from the powered Hwasong-17. liquid fuel.

Liquid rockets take longer to prepare for launch; Solid fuel rockets are ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Chun, a former South Korean general, said: “If this is the case, it gives (North Korea) greater mobility, flexibility, more lethality, etc.

Chun said solid-fuel rockets on mobile launchers would give the Kim regime “the ability to strike opponents with very, very little advance warning.” “It’s a really scary scenario.”


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