Kim’s daughter reveals dynastic dream for North Korea: analysts

Kim’s daughter reveals dynastic dream for North Korea: analysts


Kim Jong Un on Saturday revealed the fourth generation of his ruling family to be seen in photos with his daughter for the first time ever, giving analysts a clear indication of his dynastic vision for North Korea.

State media has never mentioned Kim’s children — the regime hasn’t even officially acknowledged their existence — but on Saturday, KCNA reported that Kim “along with his beloved daughter and wife” oversaw the launch of an ICBM.

Pictures showed a beaming Kim holding hands with an adoring girl in a white down jacket and red shoes, walking in front of a giant black and white rocket and appearing to be celebrating a successful test.

Kim — the grandson of North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il Sung and the third generation of the Kim family that runs the country — married his wife Ri Sol Ju in 2009, according to Seoul’s spy agency.

She gave birth to her first child the following year, and her second and third children were born in 2013 and 2017, the agency said.

The only prior confirmation of the children’s existence came from former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who made an adventurous visit up north in 2013 and claimed he met a daughter of Kim’s named Ju Ae.

The North Korean leader was “a good father,” Rodman said at the time.

– North Korean “Princess” –

The daughter seen in the photos is believed to be Ju Ae, Cheong Seong-chang of the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute in South Korea told AFP, adding that she is the equivalent of a North Korean “princess”.

Now that her identity has been revealed, she will likely be able to take part in affairs of state, he said, adding that her appearance with her father may even suggest she was his anointed successor.

Kim Jong Un’s own father, Kim Jong Il, chose him as his successor over his older children because he most resembled him, Cheong said.

“Kim Jong Un might want to do the same with this special daughter. Maybe she has the qualities that Kim thinks are very similar to him,” he said, adding that if she continued to accompany her father to important events, that would be an indication that was the case.

– ‘Next Generation’ –

North Korea has launched numerous ballistic missiles this year, far more than any other year on record.

Japan said Friday’s ICBM launch likely has the range to hit the US mainland.

Introducing Kim’s daughter to the world at this point could send a message to the world that the North Korean regime will not go away, analyst Soo Kim told AFP.

“In a way, it’s a symbolic image of Kim passing the scepter of rule to the next generation,” she said, which “sends a message to the international community to accept and prepare for North Korea’s fourth iteration of terror and belligerence.” “.

She said the photos also suggest “a degree of closeness and comfort between Kim and his daughter,” which could indicate she’s being prepared for future leadership.

“The third time isn’t the appeal when it comes to how to deal with the Kim family,” she said, adding that the world “needs to think about how to deal with the regime’s fourth generation.”

– “Confused” –

The photos could also be part of a carefully staged attempt by Pyongyang to show Kim is a “normal” leader, North Korean studies scholar Ahn Chan-il told AFP.

“Pyongyang seems to be trying to brand itself as a ‘normal’ nation — while conducting these ICBM launches that demonstrate its military prowess — by showing images of what appears to be Kim as a loving father,” Ahn said.

“It is also a gesture of stabilizing the regime by declaring to the outside world that it is now heading for the fourth-generation successor and is well prepared for it.”

The inclusion of his wife in the public appearance and “especially his daughter” at least ‘softens’ the picture [maybe] for home audiences,” wrote North Korea expert John Delury on Twitter.

“This is not a warmonger or narcissistic Little Rocket Man. He is a good father who protects his family as he protects the nation,” he added.

Other analysts said the timing and place of the daughter’s launch to the world – at an ICBM launch – was troubling.

It’s “messed up bring your kid to work day,” said US-based safety expert Ankit Panda on Twitter.

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