Connect with us

Europe

Kim Jong Un’s ‘Precious Child’ Shows World Regime Here to Stay

News Agencies

Published

on

(Bloomberg) — North Korea hasn’t said whether she has any siblings. Her age remains a mystery. The world doesn’t even know her name. The important thing is that she’s the “most beloved” daughter of Kim Jong Un.

Most Read from Bloomberg

The young girl, who South Korean authorities believe is named Ju Ae and about nine years old, has suddenly been featured in North Korean state media alongside her all-powerful father. She most recently accompanied Kim on a photo op to celebrate the successful launch of the country’s most powerful ballistic missile — prompting “stormy cheers of ‘Hurrah!’,” according to a Korean Central News Agency dispatch published Sunday.

Despite all the mystery, the events sent clear signals to both the North Korean public and the wider world: First, the Kim regime is here to stay. Second, the ruling family won’t be bargaining away its nuclear arsenal any time soon.

Advertisement

Both points were driven home when Kim brought his daughter along to observe the launch a new intercontinental ballistic missile believed capable of carrying multiple nuclear warheads anywhere on the US mainland. Photos released by state media included a shot of Kim looking down on his child with the rocket looming behind them.

The debut was remarkable on several levels. While parading heirs before the public has been a feature of hereditary monarchies the world over, the Kim family has been far more reluctant to reveal potential successors during its almost 75 years in power.

Kim Jong Un didn’t make his official debut until he was around 26. Before Ju Ae’s first appearance in state media on Nov. 19, North Korea hadn’t even acknowledged Kim had children. It’s still not known whether the regime views his “precious child” as Kim’s heir, or whether that status would belong to the older brother she’s rumored to have.

Advertisement

“The optics of Kim and his daughter observing the launch together seem to underscore recent messaging that the nuclear program is no longer conditional, and now involves the next generation as part of this success,” said Jenny Town, a senior fellow at the Stimson Center in Washington. In September, Kim told North Korean lawmakers he would “never give up” his nuclear weapons while pushing through a law that would allow “automatic” strikes if his leadership was threatened.

Since taking power a decade ago at 27, Kim has defied predictions that his regime would falter. Instead, he boasts an increasingly diverse stockpile of weapons designed to target the US and its allies in Japan and South Korea. The reports featuring Kim’s daughter show he also has a possible heir to bequeath them to.

Advertisement

“It is the truth taught by history that only when we become the strongest, not the weak, in the present world where the strength in showdown just decides victory, can we defend the present and future of the country and nation,” KCNA quoted Kim as saying Sunday.

The NIS believed Kim may have wanted to assure people that he is responsible for the “security of the future generation,” South Korean lawmaker Yoo Sang-bum told reporters last week after a closed-door briefing with the National Intelligence Service. He added that agency believes that Ju Ae is the second of three children between Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju.

“Under the North Korean regime, the position of Kim’s children can be compared to that of prince or princess in a dynastic system,” said Cheong Seong-Chang, director of the Center for North Korean Studies at the Sejong Institute outside of Seoul.

Advertisement

North Korea’s ability to deliver a nuclear strike on the US and its allies in Asia has grown under Kim Jong Un to the point where there are calls to declare Pyongyang a nuclear weapons state and revamp a decades-old US policy of never allowing that to happen, while seeking the complete, verifiable and irreversible end of its atomic arsenal.

Kim has ignored the US’s calls to return to nuclear disarmament talks now stalled for more than three years.

Ju Ae’s debut is only the latest example of Kim’s willingness to share the spotlight with prominent women. Besides frequent appearances with his wife, he has made his sister, Kim Yo Jong, the face of the regime’s response to the US and South Korea. He also recently appointed, Choe Son Hui, to be the country’s first female foreign minister.

Advertisement

Still, it’s too early to say whether Kim Jong Un intends to make Ju Ae his formal heir. Such a move would likely face resistance from the country’s male-dominated political elite, said Rachel Minyoung Lee, a regional issues manager at the Vienna-based Open Nuclear Network.

“While Kim himself may be ready to appoint a female successor, those around him may not be, and he cannot altogether ignore the opinions of the country’s top-ranking leadership,” said Lee, who previously worked as an open source analyst for the CIA. “North Korea is a very traditional and conservative society, and Kim may not be confident that a female successor could navigate a male-dominant party, government, and military without jeopardizing regime security.”

(Updates with analyst comment. A previous version corrected spelling of name for leader’s daughter)

Advertisement

Most Read from Bloomberg Businessweek

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Breaking News

Editor Pick’s

Latest Entertainment

Entertainment24 mins ago

Priscilla Presley files to control Lisa Marie Presley’s estate despite Riley Keough being named trustee

Lisa Marie Presley, Priscilla Presley and Riley Keough pose after placing their handprints in cement at TCL Chinese theatre in...

Entertainment1 hour ago

Feminist Jane Fonda once ‘saw women as weak’

Jane Fonda is opening up about her cancer treatment. (Photo: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni) Jane Fonda has been an outspoken feminist for...

Entertainment3 hours ago

‘A Thousand and One’ wins Sundance grand jury prize

“A Thousand and One,” a drama about an impoverished single mother and her son in New York City, won the...

Entertainment4 hours ago

T.J. Holmes and Amy Robach will depart ‘GMA3’ amid romance: sources

ABC is looking to cut ties with Amy Robach and T.J. Holmes amid their headline-making romance. (Photos: Getty Images) After...

Entertainment4 hours ago

‘Infinity Pool’ stars Mia Goth and Alexander Skarsgård on the bonkers X-rated scenes that shocked Sundance

Mia Goth takes aim in Brandon Cronenberg’s dark horror satire Infinity Pool. (Photo: Neon/Courtesy Everett Collection) Like father, like son....

Entertainment5 hours ago

The Last of Us officially renewed for season 2, and gamers know what that means

We haven’t heard the last of The Last of Us. HBO has officially renewed the post-apocalyptic drama starring Pedro Pascal...

Entertainment5 hours ago

Jay Leno’s very bad week: He breaks several bones in motorcycle crash as CNBC cancels ‘Jay Leno’s Garage’

Jay Leno broke his ribs in a motorcycle accident; days later, CNBC announced it canceled the late night legend’s show...

Entertainment6 hours ago

‘Shrinking’ star Jason Segel never thought mental illness was stigmatized: ‘I’ve asked for help so many times in my life’

Jason Segel in Shrinking (Photo: Apple TV+) Jason Segel readily admits he gets typecast for a very specific role: “Your...

Advertisement

Latest Sports

Sports24 mins ago

‘We got it out’: Jack Edwards reveals what he said in apology to Pat Maroon

The Bruins broadcaster apologized to Maroon face to face ahead of Thursday's game in Tampa.

Sports55 mins ago

NFL Would You Rather? Which home favorite would you rather bet?

Breaking down the NFL's two conference championship games.

Sports1 hour ago

Nick Bosa receives perfect one-word assessment from Eagles’ Jordan Mailata

The Eagles know what to expect from Nick Bosa and the 49ers' defense on Sunday in the NFC Championship Game...

Sports2 hours ago

Kyle Shanahan’s Brock Purdy anecdote sums up 49ers’ rookie philosophy

Brock Purdy is the 49ers' perfect example of how rookies should approach their first year in the NFL.

Sports2 hours ago

Statement from Steve Wilks’ lawyer is also a warning to the Cardinals on Brian Flores

The statement came swiftly from lawyer Doug Wigdor. And it should be regarded by Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill as a...

Sports3 hours ago

NFL Conference Championship Stats Notebook: One key matchup will determine the winner of 49ers-Eagles

Fantasy football analyst Matt Harmon breaks down four noteworthy numbers ahead of the NFL championship round.

Sports3 hours ago

Warren Sapp says Bears are trading Justin Fields to draft Bryce Young

How on earth would Warren Sapp know if the Chicago Bears are trading Justin Fields?

Sports4 hours ago

NBA second generation: Boozer twins, Bronny James and others carving their own paths

Yahoo Sports takes a look at 10 current high school players who come from an NBA family and how they're...

Technology Hot News

Technology1 week ago

Led by "Amazon" and "Microsoft" .. the technology giants are planning to lay off 64,000 employees

After 10 years of driving the stock market bull run, big tech companies are racing to downsize staff to adapt...

Technology1 week ago

Apple introduces MacBooks with new M2 processors

Yesterday, Tuesday, Apple unveiled MacBooks powered by the new, faster “M2 Pro” and “M2 Max” processor chips, in a surprise...

Technology1 week ago

All you need to know about the upcoming Galaxy S23 phones from Samsung

Samsung has officially announced that the (Galaxy Unpacked 2023) event will be held this year on Wednesday, February 1, which...

Technology1 week ago

FTX Exchange Announces Hacking and Stolen $415 Million in Cryptocurrency

Bankrupt American cryptocurrency firm FTX announced today, Wednesday, that $415 million in cryptocurrency has been hacked and stolen from the...

Technology1 week ago

Because of a "fraudulent tweet"… Elon Musk's trial begins

Elon Musk's trial began Tuesday in San Francisco with the selection of jury members who will have to decide whether...

Technology1 week ago

An electric spoon replaces salt and spices, but with conditions

Experts have developed an electric spoon that is able to replace spices and flavors and affect the taste buds in...

Technology2 weeks ago

The biggest dangers of using tracking devices.. so you can escape?

If you spot an unknown Bluetooth tagging device, there are ways to disable the device so it can't track your...

Technology2 weeks ago

New Twitter.. For You tab to web version

The Twitter platform announced that it will bring the new tab (For You), which launched last Tuesday for iPhones and...

Advertisement