Kim Jong-un likely flaunting daughter at military events to elicit loyalty: Seoul

IANS Photo

Seoul, September 5 (IANS) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has mainly brought his daughter, Ju-ae, to military-related events in an apparent bid to highlight his feats in the military sector and elicit the loyalty of the armed services, South Korea's Unification Ministry said Tuesday.

Kim's daughter has made public appearances on 15 occasions since she made her first one in November 2022, and 12 cases of the total, or 80 per cent, were at military-related events, the Ministry said citing reports by the Rodong Sinmun, the North's main newspaper.

In contrast, she attended events related to the economy and social affairs three times, Yonhap News Agency quoted the Ministry as saying.

Ju-ae, believed to be around 11 years old, was first reported by state media on November 18, 2022 when she, along with her father, attended the firing of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile.

Since then, her public appearances have been focused on the military field, including a military parade in February and an inspection in May of a facility to prepare the launch of the country's first spy satellite.

North Korean state media have carried a total of 107 photos featuring her.

Of them, seven photos were placed on the front page of the Rodong Sinmun, and 80 photos, or 75 per cent, showed her right next to Kim Jong-un.

Despite an increase in her appearances in state media, many North Korean observers see the possibility of Ju-ae becoming a hereditary successor as low, given the country's patriarchal society and the rumoured existence of an eldest son among Kim's children.

South Korea's spy agency told lawmakers Monday that it is "hasty" to judge that Ju-ae has been anointed as the successor, as North Korea, a male-dominant society, is "obsessed" with the Paektu bloodline of Kim's royal family.