The Kims, fourth generation. For the first time, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un appeared alongside his daughter, according to official photographs released Saturday, November 19, 2022, once again confirming the dynastic vision he holds for his country, according to the experts.
This is an extremely rare occurrence.
The official state agency KCNA had never mentioned Kim Jong-un’s children before. The North Korean regime has never even confirmed the existence of a family of the leader.
But on Saturday, for the first time, KCNA announced that Kim had visited the day before the launch of his latest intercontinental ballistic missile accompanied by his “beloved wife and (of her) daughter”. No age details were given.
White down jacket and red shoes
In the photos, the leader appears smiling, holding the hand of a young girl dressed in a white puffer jacket and red shoes, both walking in front of a gigantic white and black missile.
Kim Jong-un, grandson of North Korea’s founding father Kim Il-sung and his family’s third generation to rule the country, married Ri Sol Ju in 2009, according to South Korean intelligence.
She gave birth to their first child the following year, the second and third were born in 2013 and in 2017, the same source said, without specifying the sex of these children.
One of the only confirmations of the existence of the leader’s children curiously comes from a visit by NBA star Dennis Rodman, who traveled to North Korea in 2013. The sportsman claimed to have during this visit met a daughter of Kim, Ju Ae. The North Korean leader is “a good father” Rodman said at the time.
The girl appearing in the photos is probably this same Ju Ae, speculates with theAFP Cheong Seong-hang, a northern expert at the Sejong Institute in South Korea. She is the equivalent of a ” princess “ North Korean, he said.
Now that her existence has been revealed, she will likely be able to participate in state affairs, Cheong Seong-hang continues. The fact that she publicly stands by her father could further indicate that she has been chosen as his successor.
Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, had chosen him to be his successor among his children because he was most like him in personality and temperament, Cheong Seong-hang said.
“Kim Jong-un might want to do the same with this particular girl. Maybe she has the qualities that Kim thinks are hers”he analyzes, adding that if she continued to accompany her father to important events, it would probably be a sign that he considers her as his successor.
Since the beginning of the year, North Korea has carried out a record series of test firings of its ballistic missiles. And the ICBM launched on Friday likely has the range to hit the continental United States, according to reports from neighboring Japan.
Presenting Kim’s young daughter to the public at this precise moment is therefore not insignificant. This is a message to the world that the North Korean regime is not ready to disappear, exposes theAFP analyst Soo Kim.
“In a way, this is a symbolic photo of Kim passing on the scepter of power to the next generation”she said, which sends “a message to the international community to accept the fourth iteration of terror and belligerence” from Pyongyang, and “to prepare for it”.
The photos also suggest “a certain degree of closeness and comfort between Kim and her daughter”adds Soo Kim, which she thinks could indicate that she is prepared to take over after her father.
“Third time is not good when it comes to the Kim family”she warns, adding that the world should expect “dealing with the fourth generation” of the regime.
These images also suggest that the North Korean leader wants to show himself as a leader ” normal “says Chan-il Ahn, president of the World Institute for North Korea Studies.
He shows himself as “a loving father” while launching ICBM missiles, he said.
“He’s no longer a warmonger or a narcissistic little rocket man. He is a good father, who protects his family, as he protects the nation.abounds John Delury, professor at Yonsei University.