Kim appears with her daughter: What are North Korean rulers planning?



As if it were the most normal thing in the world: Sometimes she walks hand in hand with her father in front of a missile ready for launch, accompanies him to an artillery target drill or clap her hands with a smile when they visit a military parade together. North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un has introduced his daughter to the public several times in recent months – most of them in a military setting. According to South Korean intelligence, the fat girl with long black hair was probably only ten or eleven years old. He is said to be called Ju Ae and one of three children possibly fathered by Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju.

The sudden appearance of the girl, documented by state media, stunned observers abroad. For a largely closed North Korea, it is not normal for the ruler’s children to be introduced to the public. “The fact that Kim Jong-un is performing with his daughter is something new,” says Bernard Seliger, longtime project director at the Hans Seidel Foundation in Seoul, South Korea.

Does Kim Jong Un have a plan?

Their appearance sparked fresh speculation about Kim’s plans abroad. Does he want his daughter to become his successor in the country, which has also been described as a hereditary communist dictatorship, as some experts in South Korea suspect? Or is it, in the end, just part of a publicity stunt?

North Korea itself did not reveal any information about the child except that she is Kim Jong-un’s “beloved” daughter. Not even on Friday, when the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper released photos of her again accompanying her father on a new ICBM test.

Pictures of the daughter were first published by state media in November. The fact that Kim used the test on a family outing at the time was also considered by observers as a publicity stunt. Kim wanted to deliver the message that building a nuclear power is the right way to protect future generations, despite the urgency in their countries at times. “He is a good father who protects his family as well as the country.” chirp John Delory, East Asia expert.

For the country’s leadership, nuclear weapons, the most important means of delivery of which are intercontinental ballistic missiles, as a guarantee of survival and an effective deterrent against the United States. Pyongyang also accepts tough international sanctions for developing its nuclear weapons, which the United States and its allies see as a serious threat.

South Korean intelligence recently informed members of parliament in Seoul that Ju Ae does not attend public school, is taught privately and that her hobbies are horseback riding, skiing, and swimming. A Seoul government official said the only thing that can be confirmed is that Kim Jong-un has a daughter named Ju Ae and a younger sister. “Everything else is uncertain.” Even if there was a “firstborn child” and whether it was a boy or a girl could not be said with certainty.

The daughter as a possible successor?

However, for most observers, there is no doubt that Kim Jong-un also wants to continue the dynastic succession. However, it is too early to see the daughter as a potential successor, South Korea’s Unification Minister Kwon Yoon-si said in a local radio interview recently. “First of all, Kim Jong Un is only 40 years old.” North Korea is also very paternalistic, which tends to speak out against its successors. But it is also clear that “they (North Korea) are planning a transfer of power from the fourth generation,” Kwon said, referring to the transfer of power to Kim Jong-un – the grandson of “eternal president” Kim Il-sung – for twelve years. since.

Seliger suspected that there were several reasons for the appearance of the daughter. So it’s possible that Kim simply wants to be more human in her company. However, it is more likely that Kim is preparing the daughter for a specific role without necessarily providing for her as a successor. So you can slip into the role of “potential support for the future heir,” Seliger says.

Joe any mole already on the stamp

He notes that Ju Ae has also been immortalized on postage stamps that show her with her father. “Postage stamps are a very important propaganda tool for North Korea.” Portraying a specific person can actually be confirmation of an official role. But Seliger does not want to discount the later thesis either. It is important for Pyongyang to continue the “dynasty”. You don’t have to be a man.

Observers suspect that the discussion about the daughter also reached ordinary North Koreans. “But the question is how is it received,” Seliger says. In the end, many remain in the dark. “We have to realize that in the end we know very little about the background.”

note: This report is part of an automated service provided by the German Press Agency (dpa), which operates under strict journalistic rules. It is not edited or vetted by AZ Online Editors. Questions and hints please


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