• Asia-Pacific

Kim Jong Un’s Daughter Kim Ju Ae May Be His Heir, South Korea Suspects; North Korea Reportedly Calls Her ‘Female General’

KCNA via Reuters
This photo released Friday purports to show North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and his daughter visiting the air force headquarters of the Korean People’s Army.

SEOUL — South Korea is looking into whether the daughter of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is being groomed to succeed him, South Korean National Security Advisor Cho Tae-yong has said.

Cho spoke on a KBS television program on Sunday, making what was seen as unusually candid statements for a high-ranking government official.

Given Kim’s relatively young age, and reports that his daughter Ju Ae has an elder brother, some were doubtful that she was Kim’s heir apparent. Cho said he is not 100% sure that Ju Ae is Kim’s successor, but the information gathered has reached a stage where they need to verify whether she is.

KCNA via Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, along with his daughter, inspects an intercontinental ballistic missile in this undated photo released on Nov. 19, 2022, by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency.

Ju Ae appeared in public for the first time in November 2022. She is said to be the second child of Kim and his wife, Ri Sol Ju.

Cho’s statement followed a recent development involving Ju Ae, in which the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Friday released photographs showing Kim and his daughter attending an event at the North Korean Army’s air force headquarters on Thursday.

The photographs showed both of them wearing leather jackets and sunglasses. Ju Ae was standing in front of her father.

She had previously been referred to in various ways, including “Beloved Child.” But Radio Free Asia, a U.S. government-affiliated broadcaster, has reported that Ju Ae was called the “Morning Star of Korea” and a “female general” at lectures organized after the launch of a reconnaissance satellite on Nov. 21.