North Korean leader Kim Jong Un puts daughter center-stage in photos


Seoul North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has given the clearest signal yet that he is grooming his middle-aged daughter to be his successor, analysts say, after a raft of official photos. The girl took center stage in a banquet hall filled with military tops. Brass

Photos released by the state-run Korean Central News Agency on Wednesday are said to be from a ceremony in Pyongyang the night before to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army.

In the center of all the photos appears Jo Ae, who is said to be about 10 or 11 years old — a place usually reserved for the leader himself. The girl’s hairstyle resembles that of her stylish mother, First Lady Ree Sol Jo, and she wears a no-nonsense black skirt suit and sensible shoes.

As they enter the banquet hall, military leaders, their jackets decorated with medals, stand to applaud. At the table, the top generals stand behind the First Family, with broad smiles.

The banquet was held at the Yanggakdo Hotel on an island in the river that runs through Pyongyang. This is the same hotel where American student Otto Warmbier stayed before an incident that led to his detention and brain death.

Congratulatory scenes made the front page of the Rodong Sunmun newspaper on Wednesday morning, ahead of an expected military parade to mark the anniversary.

At the banquet, Kim Jong-un emphasized the development of the country’s military. “Let us all redouble our efforts and work harder to strengthen and develop our army and achieve the prosperity and progress of our socialist country.”

The report did not give the girl’s name or age, identifying her only as Kim’s “dear daughter” — the first time she has been given that epithet, an apparent upgrade from the previous “beloved.” But she is believed to be a girl named Ju Ae who was babysat by retired National Basketball Association star Dennis Rodman during a visit to Pyongyang in 2013.

Cheong Seong-chang, an expert on North Korean leadership at the Sejong Institute outside Seoul, said the daughter’s media presentations constituted an “active push” by Pyongyang to raise her profile.

“Given these developments, there is no longer any question as to whether Kim Jo-e has been chosen as Kim Jong-un’s successor,” he said.

While North Koreans — who have been told from birth that the Kim family is a bloodline and that it is only right that the family should rule — might accept a fourth-generation ruler, this It remains to be seen whether the ultra-patriarchal Cheung said she would accept a female ruler.

These images illustrate the importance of the military in maintaining the Kim family’s claim to legitimacy.

According to his aunt, Kim Jong Un was announced as his father’s successor in the military when he was just 8 years old.

Ko Yong-suk said that at his eighth birthday celebration in Pyongyang, Kim was given a general’s uniform decorated with stars, and real generals with real stars bowed before him to pay their respects. Those at the party were called Yong Suk.

“It was impossible for him to grow up as a normal person when people around him were treating him like that,” Ko said in a 2016 interview with The Washington Post.

Kim Jong-un’s daughter made her first public appearance in November, when she accompanied him to a missile launch site and inspected a missile while holding hands, according to a photo published by North Korean state media. Then she was called his “beloved” daughter.

Another photo showed the pair, along with Ri, on an observation platform during a missile launch. According to state media, the images were of an intercontinental ballistic missile launch – the second of its kind this month.

Tae Yong-ho, a South Korean lawmaker, said Kim was trying to emphasize his family’s roots and use them to highlight the basis of North Korea’s nuclear development, which the North used before it defected in 2016. He was the top diplomat of Korea.

He said it was a sign that the weapons program, the centerpiece of the government’s survival strategy, was here to stay. “By showing his daughter with an ICBM, [Kim] Announcing it to the world and to his people. [North Korea] will never give up its nuclear program and it will continue in its lineage.

Kim Jong Un is the third generation of his family to rule the totalitarian state since it was founded by his grandfather Kim Il Sung in 1948. After Kim Il Sung’s death in 1994, his son Kim Jong Il took over, ruling until the end. In 2011, when he was succeeded by Kim Jong-un, now 39, he took power.

Kim Jong-un fueled widespread speculation about his succession planning after showing off his daughter for the first time late last year. But the question of whether a woman can run North Korea is a complicated one, say female defectors and researchers.

Although women hold some powerful positions. Government — There’s Kim’s sister and top aide, Kim Yo Jong; Foreign Minister Choe Soon Hui; and Hyun Song Wol, who directs security and logistics for the leader’s public events — North Korea is a deeply male-dominated society.

Kim Seok-hyang, a professor at Eva Women’s University, said Kim Jong-un’s motivation in releasing the photo of his daughter was not to portray her as a potential future leader, but to present himself as a father figure for political purposes. was last year. She added that breaking the ultimate glass ceiling is not yet politically feasible given the country’s male-dominated hierarchy.

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