Who is Kim Ju Ae? Kim Jong-un's 'most beloved daughter' and potential heir

Another public appearance of Ju Ae next to her father raises the possibility that she is going to be the future leader of North Korea.

Kim Jong-un passing on the baton
© SOPA Images / Contributeur
Kim Jong-un passing on the baton

The Kim dynasty is shrouded in mystery, so little is known about the personal lives of Kim Jong-un and his family except for enjoying a wildly luxurious lifestyle and many riches while the majority of the North Koreans struggle to get by.

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‘Most beloved’ child

Just two weeks ago the world had only heard speculations about Ju Ae, the daughter of Kim Jong-un.

That has all changed now. Within a short stretch of time, the North Korean dictator took her alongside him in two military events, revealing probably the future heir of the country.

During the first visit, they supervised the launch of an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), in an event which analysts described as the ‘passing down of a legacy.

On Sunday, North Korean state media reported the two made another appearancetogether while inspecting another ICBM launch site where Kim also promoted in rank dozens of his military officers, The Guardian reports.

North Korea’s state media KCNA has called Ju Ae, ’the most beloved child’ of Kim Jong-un.

Kim Jong-un passing on the baton API / Contributeur

Who is Kim Ju Ae?

Kim Jong-un is purportedly married to his wife Ri Sol-Ju and there are many reports which suggest that the couple have three children, two girls and a boy.

Most recently, Kim Jong-un revealed to the public Ju Ae, who is believed to be between 12-13 years old and is reportedly the couple’s second child, The Guardian reports. She is the only child that has been seen in public so far.

However, this is not the first time we have heard of the child. In an interview to the The Guardian in 2013, Dennis Rodman, former basketball star who was hosted by the leader during his trip to Pyongyang, said:

I held their baby Ju Ae and spoke with Ms. Ri as well. [Kim's] a good dad and has a beautiful family.

Read more: Kim Jong Un: Here's what we know about his mysterious children

Sending a message

By making public appearances of his daughter, and bringing along her to rocket launches analysts believe that Kim Jong-un is sending a double message to his enemies.

In an interview for the New York Post, Sean King, an Asia specialist at Park Strategies, says both North Korea’s nuclear program and the Kim dynasty are here to stay.

‘Kim Jong Un is saying in these photos of him with his daughter: My regime is not going anywhere so get used to it. The Kim regime and North Korea is here to stay and here is the next generation. The nukes aren’t going anywhere either.’

Ankit Panda, an expert from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think tank, says for Sky News, that the images of Kim and his daughter shed light on the potential successor.

‘The image would support the idea that this is the start of her being positioned as a potential successor’.

However, reports suggest that Kim’s eldest child is a son, who has yet to be revealed. Then there is the fact that North Korea’s leadership is usually a role strictly dominated by male leaders.

Thus it is rather difficult to conclude that Ju Ae will be the future heir, despite being ‘the most beloved child’.

According to Soo Kim, a security analyst, the succession standpoint is too early to be called, Sky News reports.

'I think it is too early to draw any conclusions.'

Read more: Kim Jong-un may be passing down his legacy to his 9-year-old daughter

Sources used:

-TheGuardian: ‘Kim Jong-un daughter inspects another ICBM as leader hails North Korea’s nuclear power’

-NewYorkPost: ‘Inside the privileged life of Ju Ae, Kim Jong Un’s 9-year-old daughter’

-SkyNews: ‘Meet Kim Jong Un's 'precious' child Ju Ae - and possibly his likely successor’

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