Kim Jong-un drops latest hint his daughter may be his successor, but expert believes there's a catch

Kim Jong-un's latest move has set tongues wagging about his daughter being his heir apparent.

Kim Jong-un drops the latest hint his daughter will be his successor
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Kim Jong-un drops the latest hint his daughter will be his successor

Kim Jong-un’s daughter is being seen more and more in public, sparking rumours he’s preparing her to be his successor. His latest move adds fuel to the speculation.

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North Korea to release a new range of stamps

On Tuesday 14 February, North Korea revealed a new range of stamps that feature Kim Jong-un’s daughter. The stamps will be issued on Friday 17 February by the state-owned and Pyongyang-based Korea Stamp Corporation.

The stamps commemorate the hermit kingdom’s most recent intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch in November 2022. The test-firing of the Hwasong-17 was a demonstration of Pyongyang strengthening 'the most powerful and absolute nuclear deterrent', as per notes provided with the new set.

Kim Jong-un's daughter, who is thought to be named Kim Ju Ae, features in five of the 11 stamps, highlighting her growing prominence since her first public appearance at the launch.

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Kim Jong-un's daughter to be his successor?

Since the launch, Kim Jong-un’s daughter has appeared at at least four more high-profile events, the most recent being last week’s military parade. That she is suddenly appearing in public with her father has sparked rumours that she may be North Korea’s new leader-in-waiting. However, some experts believe she is merely a part of Kim Jong-un’s portrayal in North Korea as a 'family man'.

North Korean media has referred to the girl as 'beloved' and then 'respected'.The new set of stamps refer to the girl as 'noble child', a descriptor that has been used before in state media reports.

Some experts believe the evolving descriptors suggest her status is being upgraded and consequently proves she will be Kim Jong-un's heir. An Chan-il, a defector-turned-researcher who runs the World Institute for North Korea Studies, told AFP that the stamps 'look like the official start of Kim Ju Ae's life as her father's successor'.

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Kim Ju Ae being used for propaganda?

However, others point out that state media use these honourifics interchangeably. They believe it is too soon to know for sure whether Kim Jong-un has chosen her to be the next leader, considering he is only in his late 30s and the daughter's name has never been mentioned officially. Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul, told AFP:

Throughout North Korean history, whenever it officially named the country's heir apparent, they made sure people knew the name of the person.
It's still very possible that Ju Ae is just being used for (propaganda)... while Kim's eldest son is being groomed as a successor behind closed doors.

In addition, the stamps seem to focus solely on Kim Jong-un supervising the launch, with his daughter positioned in relation to him and not as a prominent figure herself.

Sources used:

- NK News: 'North Korea to issue new stamps featuring Kim Jong Un’s daughter'

- NDTV: 'North Korea Unveils Stamp Featuring Kim Jong Un's Daughter'

Kim Jong-un's latest photos with wife and daughter contain small details that may confirm succession Kim Jong-un's latest photos with wife and daughter contain small details that may confirm succession