Kim Jong-un’s daughter makes first public appearance at missile launch – National

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is a man of mystery.

Because North Korea operates under a hereditary dictatorship, not much is known about the state leader’s personal life, and any information shared is tightly controlled by state media.

So the world was shocked when Kim appeared at a rocket launch last Friday holding hands with her daughter.

This is the first time Kim’s daughter has been recognized by the country’s media, let alone sharing a video of her, and the first time any of Kim’s reported children have been seen in public.

A television screen shows North Korea’s KCNA airing images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his daughter during a news program at Yongsan Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea.

KIM Jae-Hwan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

In fact, the country’s media has never reported on Kim’s children, but South Korean media have claimed that Kim has three children, believed to have been born in 2010, 2013 and 2017.

Story continues below ad

North Korean state media said on Saturday that Kim had observed the launch of a new type of intercontinental ballistic missile with his wife Ri Sol-ju, their “beloved daughter” and other officials the previous day.

It is not known who took which child to the shooting site. The girl’s name is believed to be Kim Chu-ae, the BBC reports. North Korean media has not named the girl who appeared at the missile test wearing a white robe, black pants and a long ponytail.

A television screen shows North Korea’s KCNA airing images of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his daughter during a news program at Yongsan Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea.

LightRocket via Kim Jae-Hwan / SOPA Images / Getty Images

The identities of Kim’s children are a source of intense outside interest, as the 38-year-old ruler has not publicly named an heir.

Kim has been out of the public eye for a long time in 2020, and there have been rumors that her health may be deteriorating. The global media was in a frenzy over who was next in line to take over the poor country.

Story continues below ad

Many observers said at the time that Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo Jong, would step in and rule the country if her brother was incapacitated.

Read more:

Iran’s famous actors have been arrested for removing their hijab amid the crackdown on celebrities

Michael Madden, an expert on North Korea leadership at the Stimson Center in Washington, called the girl’s first public appearance “very significant.”

“It’s a certain degree of comfort for Kim Jong-un that he’s going to make it public like this,” he told The Associated Press.

The BBC’s Seoul correspondent Jean Mackenzie said her daughter’s revelation raised other questions.

“Why are you opening it now?” Mackenzie wrote. “He is still very young. If he is grooming him to take over, could it mean the 38-year-old leader has health problems? His health is the subject of much speculation, as it appears to be the biggest risk to the regime’s stability.”

Read more:

Trump’s Twitter will be restored after inquiry, few people want it back: Musk

Mackenzie also wondered if her daughter’s appearance meant she would one day play a role in the country’s nuclear weapons program.

Story continues below ad

“To present it in such an important presentation shows that it will one day play a role in the development of the country’s weapons.”

After a visit to Pyongyang in 2013, retired NBA star Dennis Rodman told the Guardian that he and Kim “holidayed at sea” with the leader’s family and held Kim’s baby daughter, Ju-ae. It is not known whether Kim Ju-ae and Kim Chu-ae are the same person.

Rodman said he has been spending time with his family, describing Kim as a “good father” and talking to Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju.

“I held their baby Ju-ae and talked to Mrs. Ri as well,” she said.

With Associated Press files

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.