• Asia-Pacific

Kim Jong Un’s Young Daughter Appears to Be Frontrunner for Succession

KCNA via Reuters
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and daughter Kim Ju Ae visit the Ministry of National Defense on the 76th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army in Pyongyang in this photo released Friday by the Korean Central News Agency.

SEOUL — As the young daughter of leader Kim Jong Un appears more prominently at North Korea’s public events, it fuels speculation that she will be his likely successor, South Korean Unification Minister Kim Yung Ho said on Thursday.

The girl is believed to be Kim Ju Ae, who was born in 2013.

During a military parade in Pyongyang in September last year, military leader Pak Jong Chon took a knee to speak to her, and the scene was made public, evoking a past image from the Kim regime.

Kim Yung Ho said that when Kim Jong Un’s father and predecessor Kim Jong Il was young, military leader O Jin U knelt down in a similar way to talk to him. The minister surmises that the current supreme leader wanted to have the scene reenacted in the same place to boost his daughter’s status.

He also noted that the role of Kim Jong Un’s sister Kim Yo Jong, who serves as the deputy director of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea, has been “relatively reduced.”

The party passed an amendment at its congress in January 2021 creating a new position of “first secretary” as a representative of the general secretary.

“This post was created at the direction of Jong Un,” said Kim Yung Ho, indicating the view that the leader was solidifying a system for the succession of power.