Kim Jong-un: Experts reveal reason behind his daughter's public appearances, but it's not what you think

Within a short period of time, Kim Jong-un showcased twice his daughter Ju-ae to the public, puzzling analysts about the meaning of that act.

Inside Kim Jong-un's Mirage power play
© Bloomberg / Contributeur
Inside Kim Jong-un's Mirage power play

Analysts are split about the importance of Kim Jong-un’s recent public showcasing of his daughter Ju-ae.

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Presumed 'distraction plan'

The North Korean dictator made two public appearances with his daughter. In both cases, they visited, up close, the launching ground of inter-continental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), which are usually used to carry nuclear weapons to their target far away.

Analysts were suggesting these events translate to Kim preparing the world community and his enemies for the ‘heir to the throne’, suggesting Ju-ae is a likely successor of the Kim dynasty which would lead North Korea in the future.

However, Soo Kim, a contributor for the Lowy Institute, an Australian-based think tank with a focus on Asia-Pacific policies, believes otherwise.

Soo Kim asserts the acts were just part of a ‘distraction plan’ to draw away the attention of the international community from the rapidly advancing weapon program of North Korea, Newsweek reports.

‘With the spotlight having long been fixed on the nuclear issue, Ju-ae's public debut seems as though it could be an impeccably timed distraction to keep the international community from focusing on seeking an enduring solution to Pyongyang's rapidly advancing weapons systems—for Pyongyang's ICBM test was overshadowed by the ten-year-old's public debut.’
Inside Kim Jong-un's Mirage power play SOPA Images / Contributeur

In a Rand post, Soo Kim suggests there may be more-frequent appearances of Ju-ae in the upcoming period and close attention should be paid to how the regime is portraying the ‘young Kim’ for a clearer picture of her position in the dynasty.

However, another analyst disagrees with this view.

North Korea's nuclear program

Vann Van Diepen, an expert on Korea with over three decades of experience working for the US Government and who now is a consultant for 38 North, says the view presented by Soo Kim is pointless and silly, as the West does not care who will be the successor of King Jong-unafter twenty years.

‘The parts of the international community and U.S. government that worry about North Korean ICBMs don't care too much in the immediate term about who might be KJU's [Kim Jong Un's] successor 20 years from now.’

Van Diepen believes that the fact that Kim was accompanied by his daughter at a missile launch suggests North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is not going away and the dictator will not negotiate for it.

‘The idea that showing off the kid somehow distracts from the NK ICBM threat just doesn't compute. In fact, a lot of the security-expert commentary was just the opposite. According to them, showing the successor along with the ICBM was arguably intended to underscore the ICBM program, and underscore that North Korea won't bargain it away.’

Meanwhile, Newsweek reports that the recent events in North Korea have raised the sentiment among South Koreans about building up their own nuclear weapons program for countering the threats of their northern neighbor.

‘A poll from The Asian Institute for Policy Studies in June found that about 70 percent of South Koreans approved of such a strategy.'

Sources used:

-Newsweek: ‘Kim Jong Un's Daughter May Be Part of 'Distraction' Plan’

-Rand: ‘North Korea's Version of 'Take Your Daughter to Work Day' Went Out with a Bang—Literally’

-The Asian Institute forPolicyStudies: ‘South Koreans and Their Neighbors 2022’

Kim Jong-un: The real reason why he may be preparing a woman to be his successor revealed Kim Jong-un: The real reason why he may be preparing a woman to be his successor revealed