- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s daughter is being prepared as his successor, analysts say.
- Kim Ju Ae featured prominently in recent North Korean propaganda photographs.
- The pictures were taken at a banquet to mark the military’s 75th anniversary.
Kim Jon Un has given the clearest indications yet that his daughter will be North Korea’s next dictator after she made a rare public appearance at a banquet in Pyongyang, according to experts.
In only her 4th public appearance, Kim Ju Ae attended a banquet Tuesday marking the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the North Korean army alongside her father and mother, Ri Sol Ju.
In the pictures of the event released by North Korean state media, the family enter a banqueting hall which appears to be in Pyongyang’s Yanggakdo Hotel while applauded by military officials bedecked with medals.
Kim Ju Ae, who is believed to be 10 or 11, wore a dark suit and white shirt like her father, while her hair was styled like her mother.
North Korean state media published a story later that month with pictures of Kim and his daughter, describing her as his “most beloved” child, said Cheong Seong-chang, a senior analyst at the Sejong Institute in South Korea.https://t.co/UL276xy45t
— Seong-Chang CHEONG (@softpower21) February 8, 2023
In one image, Kim Ju Ae is in the center of the shot, with her father on her left and mother on her right, while behind them military officials smile for the camera.
The prominence of Kim Ju Ae in the pictures, alongside her presence at other recent public appearances by her father, indicate she is likely being prepared for leadership, say some analysts.
“Given these developments, there is no longer a question about whether Kim Ju Ae has been chosen as Kim Jong Un’s successor,” Cheong Seong-chang, a North Korea leadership expert at the Sejong Institute, Seoul, told The Washington Post.
Kim Jong Un is believed to have three children, including a son who is older than Kim Ju Ae.
“We can only speculate at this point,” Duyeon Kim, a senior analyst at the Center for a New American Security in Washington, D.C, told the Associated Press. “(Kim Jong Un is) obviously showing her off intentionally and, at a minimum, he seems to be trying to reiterate the importance, status, and legitimacy of a direct Kim bloodline offspring. It’s too soon to assume that she will be his heir because the son has always succeeded the throne in North Korea.”
Kim Ju Ae attended a test of intercontinental ballistic missiles in November, and has also previously attended a meeting with military scientists with her father.
On Wednesday, Kim Ju Ae appeared at a military parade in Pyongyang alongside her father where the largest number of intercontinental ballistic missiles ever displayed by the country were paraded. Analysts believe the dozen or more weapons could be enough to penetrate US defences.
North Korea is a hereditary dictatorship, and Kim Jong Un was appointed successor to his father, Kim Jong Il, when he was 8, an expert told CBS News.
In recent months, tensions between North Korea and US-ally South Korea have intensified amid a series of missile tests by North Korea.