Kim Jong Un reveals daughter at North Korea ballistic missile test

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one week ago  •  7 comments

By:   Leila Sackur

Kim Jong Un reveals daughter at North Korea ballistic missile test
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un unveiled his daughter, thought to be named Ju Ae, in photos from the launch of a new ballistic missile that could reach all of the U.S.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



A new ballistic missile with the range to hit all of the United States is a hard thing to upstage. But North Korean leader Kim Jong Un did just that with a surprise guest at the test-launch: his little-known daughter.

Kim revealed his daughter to the world for the first time Saturday in images showing the pair hand-in-hand at the missile launch site, an unexpected appearance that raises the prospect of a fourth generation of Kims taking leadership of the secretive state — and its growing nuclear arsenal.

North Korean state media said that Kim had observed the launch of the state's new type of intercontinental ballistic missile with his wife, Ri Sol Ju, other officials, and his "beloved daughter" on Friday.

Kim said the launch of the nuclear-capable Hwasong-17 missile proved he has a reliable weapon to contain U.S-led military threats, and the U.S. responded by flying supersonic bombers in a show of force.

North Korean state media said Kim attended the missile launch with both his wife and "beloved daughter" STR / AFP - Getty Images

It was the latest escalation in months of provocations from Pyongyang, but attention was suddenly focused on the daughter whose existence had never been publicly confirmed before.

North Korea's Rodong Simmun newspaper revealed a series of images of Kim and his daughter, who wore a puffy white coat and red shoes to observe the soaring missile from a distance with her father.

State media did not name the girl or disclose her age. It is the first confirmed public appearance of a child of the North Korean leader, whose personal life remains shrouded in mystery

Kim Jong Un, 38, is the third generation of the Kim dynasty to rule over the reclusive state but has not publicly declared an heir, making the identities of his children a source of strong outside interest. Kim is believed to have three children, born between 2010 and 2017, with his wife Ri, a former singer.

In 2013, retired NBA star Dennis Rodman said Kim had a "baby" daughter named Ju Ae, who he spent time with on a seaside vacation with the Kim family. It wasn't immediately clear which child was shown in the photos.

"This is the first observed occasion where we have seen Kim Jong Un's daughter at a public event" Michael Madden, a North Korean leadership expert at the Stimson Center, told Reuters. "It is highly significant and represents a certain degree of comfort on Kim Jong Un's part that he would bring her out in public in such fashion."

Experts say images of Kim and his daughter are for elite consumption, and could symbolise Kim priming his daughter to be the next supreme leaderSTR / AFP - Getty Images

Some analysts suggested that tying his daughter so closely to the development of the country's nuclear program was the latest signal to the world that North Korea has no plans to give up its arsenal.

The images were the "optics of handing down a legacy," said Jenny Town of 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea research organization, on Twitter.

"For those thinking #NorthKorea was just upping the ante to re-enter negotiations, this seems to suggest otherwise. Just as declarations about the nuclear program are no longer conditional — this seems to reinforce the nuke program is here to stay," she said.

There may also have been a domestic purpose behind the big reveal, however.

"Including his wife and especially his daughter 'soften' the image, at least [maybe] for domestic audience" added John Delury, a professor of Chinese Studies at Yonsei University in Seoul, on Twitter. "This is not a warmonger or narcissistic Little Rocket Man. He's a good Dad, protecting his family, like he protects the Nation," said Delury.

Friday's launch was North Korea's eighth ICBM launch this year, as leadership pledged "fiercer" military responses to enhanced U.S. military presence in the regionSTR / AFP - Getty Images

The Kim cult of personality has long been dependent on the image of the supreme leaders as "fathers" of the nation. Propaganda images of Kim Jong Un's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who founded North Korea, frequently depict him alongside children. Candy and sweet gifts for children are often distributed on the leader's birthday, if resources allow.

Yet Kim Jong Un rarely makes reference to his own family.

In 2020, U.S. officials and South Korean media speculated that Kim went through a period of ill-health after undergoing heart surgery. North Korea have never announced who would follow Kim if he became incapacitated, with analysts theorizing that his sister and loyalists could form a regency until a successor in his direct line was old enough to take over.

Bringing his daughter to the missile test site was a move for an "elite audience," Madden told Reuters, potentially introducing the fourth generation of the hereditary succession.

Kim and his daughter, whose name and age was not disclosed, watched the soaring rocket together from a safe distance STR / AFP - Getty Images

The missile launched Friday came after another failed launch in early November. On Thursday, the North vowed "fiercer" military responses to Washington's enhanced security presence in the region.

The Japanese defense minister said that the missile had the potential to reach anywhere in the United States.

Vice President Kamala Harris, who is in Bangkok for a regional forum, said the launch was a "brazen violation" of United Nations Security Council resolutions and called on North Korea to "stop further unlawful destabilizing acts."

Friday's family affair was North Korea's eighth ICBM launch this year, according to the state department.

South Korean and U.S officials now say the North is preparing to conduct its seventh nuclear test, which would be its first since 2017 and a significant escalation of tensions with Washington and its allies.

Leila Sackur Associated Press, Reuters and Stella Kim contributed.


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Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
1  Ed-NavDoc    one week ago

Kim's daughter being primed to be the next great leader? A gut feeling tells me that may  not sit well with Kim's little sis who may think she should be the next one.

 
 
 
Drinker of the Wry
Freshman Principal
1.1  Drinker of the Wry  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @1    one week ago

Kim Yo Jong. 35?, might want more than to just remain the deputy director of the Propaganda and Agitation Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
1.1.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Drinker of the Wry @1.1    one week ago

Naw, I'll bet a dollar to a donut, she will settle for nothing less than the whole bowl of kimchi to be #1. Rumor has it that she is actually the one that carried out the brutal execution of her and Kim's uncle. 

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
2  Nerm_L    one week ago

The message, if it is such, seems rather plain.  The daughter is why the missile exists.

 
 
 
Ed-NavDoc
Professor Quiet
2.1  Ed-NavDoc  replied to  Nerm_L @2    one week ago

Huh?

 
 
 
Nerm_L
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Nerm_L  replied to  Ed-NavDoc @2.1    one week ago
Huh?

The missile does not exist to capture territory, extend North Korean influence, or pursue imperialist goals.  The missile exists to defend family, country, and a way of life.  The missile exists to protect and defend the future.

The message, if it is such, was apparently intended for the North Korean people and not for the western press.  Kim is demonstrating why these weapons are necessary for North Korea.  The warning for the west, if one was intended, is that these weapons are not about geopolitics.

 
 
 
Gsquared
Senior Expert
3  Gsquared    one week ago

This was a North Korean dictator's version of a quinceañera.

 
 

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