North Korea has unveiled the little-known daughter of its leader Kim Jong-un at a missile launch site, attracting keen attention on a fourth-generation member of the dynastic family that has ruled North Korea for more than seven decades.
The North’s state media said Saturday that Kim had observed the launch of its new type of intercontinental ballistic missile with his wife Ri Sol-ju, their “beloved daughter” and other officials the previous day. Kim said the launch of the Hwasong-17 missile — the North’s longest-range, nuclear-capable missile — proved he has a reliable weapon to contain U.S.-led military threats.
The main Rodong Sinmun newspaper also released a slew of photos of Kim watching a soaring missile from a distance with his daughter. Other photos showed her with her hair pulled back, wearing a white coat and a pair of red shoes as she walked in hand-in-hand with her father by a huge missile atop a launch truck.
It’s the first time for North Korea’s state media to mention the daughter or publicize her photos. KCNA didn’t provide further details about her like her name and age.
Little known about leader’s life
Much of Kim’s private life is still unknown. But South Korean media reported Kim married Ri, a former singer, in 2009, and that the couple have three children who were born in 2010, 2013 and 2017.
It wasn’t known which child Kim took to the launch site. But in 2013, after a trip to Pyongyang, retired NBA star Dennis Rodman told the British newspaper the Guardian that he and Kim had a “relaxing time by the sea” with the leader’s family and that he held Kim’s baby daughter, named Ju Ae.
The identities of Kim’s children are a source of strong outside interest as the 38-year-old ruler hasn’t publicly anointed an heir apparent.
When he disappeared from public eye for an extended period in 2020 amid unconfirmed rumors about health conditions, global media frenzy flared over who was next in line to run an impoverished yet nuclear-armed country. Many observers said at the time that Kim’s younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, would step in and run the country if her brother was incapacitated.
The Kim family has governed North Korea with a strong personality following built around key family members since Kim’s grandfather, Kim Il-sung, founded the country in 1948.