North Korea Debuts Kim's 'Beloved Daughter'

It's the first time pics of the child, who's never been mentioned, have emerged
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 19, 2022 5:30 AM CST
North Korea Debuts Kim Jong Un's 'Beloved' Daughter
This photo provided on Saturday bt the North Korean government shows its leader Kim Jong Un, front, accompanied by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, second from right, and his daughter as Kim inspects the test-firing of what it says is a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile at Pyongyang International Airport...   (Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP)

North Korea has unveiled the little-known daughter of its leader Kim Jong Un at a missile launch site, attracting keen attention to a fourth-generation member of the dynastic family that has ruled North Korea for more than seven decades. The North's state media said Saturday that Kim had observed the launch of its new type of intercontinental ballistic missile with his wife, Ri Sol Ju; their "beloved daughter"; and other officials the previous day. Kim said the launch of the Hwasong-17 missile—the North's longest-range, nuclear-capable missile—proved he has a reliable weapon to contain US-led military threats. The main Rodong Sinmun newspaper also released a slew of photos of Kim watching a soaring missile from a distance with his daughter, per the AP.

Other photos showed the girl with her hair pulled back, wearing a white coat and a pair of red shoes as she walked in hand in hand with her father by a huge missile atop a launch truck. It's the first time that North Korea's state media has mentioned the daughter or publicized her photos. KCNA didn't provide further details about her, including her name or age. Much of Kim's private life remains still unknown. But South Korean media reported Kim married Ri, a former singer, in 2009, and that the couple have three children who were born in 2010, 2013, and 2017. It wasn't known which child Kim took to the launch site. But in 2013, after a trip to Pyongyang, retired NBA star Dennis Rodman told the Guardian that he and Kim had a "relaxing time by the sea" with the leader's family and that he held Kim's baby daughter, named Ju Ae.

The identities of Kim's children are a source of strong outside interest, as the 38-year-old ruler hasn't publicly anointed an heir apparent. The disclosure of the Kim family child has taken many North Korea watchers by surprise. It was only in 2010 when Kim, then 26, was first publicly mentioned in state media as he took a spate of top posts before he inherited power upon his father Kim Jong Il's death the next year. Analyst Cheong Seong-Chang of the private Sejong Institute in South Korea said if Kim continues to take this daughter to key public events, that could signal that she would become Kim's successor. "Kim Jong Un may have his daughter, who resembles him the most in his mind, as his successor," Cheong said.

(More Kim Jong Un stories.)

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