North Korea hasn’t said whether she has any siblings.
While children across North Korea spent the day in school, the preteen daughter of leader Kim Jong Un was with her dad watching a test of a new missile designed to obliterate a US city in a nuclear strike.
North Korea hasn’t said whether she has any siblings. Her age remains a mystery. The world doesn’t even officially know her name, and yet, since November she has been a staple of the state’s propaganda apparatus. She has appeared by her father’s side as he fires off weapons, dines with generals and presides over parades with thousands of goose-stepping soldiers.
State media on Friday released its latest photos of what it has dubbed the “precious child” and “respected daughter” – thought by South Korea’s spy agency to be named Ju Ae and perhaps about 10 years old.
Dressed in all black and sporting long curls, she is seen sitting next to her father who has a cigarette in hand appearing to watch a new-type of intercontinental ballistic missile darting through the skies.
This marked the third time she has been by her father’s side for an ICBM test. She was also a guest of honor as she and her mother stood by Kim’s side at a banquet of top military brass in February that coincided with a massive military parade through the streets of Pyongyang. She took center stage for a moment at the parade revealing a more human side to her father, who has been derided in the West as a brutal dictator, when she brushed his cheek in front of a crowd of hundreds of thousands.
Up until the appearance of the daughter, North Korea had previously not let the public know about the offspring of its leaders until they became adults and took positions in the state apparatus. But Kim’s daughter was feted by thousands of fawning citizens and soldiers about a week after making her debut in state media to celebrate the successful launch of the country’s most powerful ballistic missile. This prompted “stormy cheers of ‘Hurrah!’,” according to an official media dispatch.
Her debut came in mid-November when she appeared dressed in a white jacket and holding her father’s hand as they inspected a nuclear-capable ICBM. They then strolled under dawn skies with a towering missile on a pad waiting to blast off.
While it remains to be seen if Ju Ae is being groomed as a possible successor, her presence at the tests has shown that the family dynasty that has ruled the country since it was forged in the Cold War clearly has another generation waiting in the wings.