North Korea Kim Jong Un: Kim, his wife Ri Sol Ju, and their “beloved daughter” attended the parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army
North Korea Kim Jong Un is believed to have rolled out a new fast-strike intercontinental ballistic missile at a military parade, an event that he also used to elevate the profile of a daughter who he could be groomed for a leadership position.
Kim, his wife Ri Sol Ju, and their “beloved daughter” attended the parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army held in central Pyongyang on Wednesday night, the official Korean Central News Agency said.
It added that there were weapons on display, including intercontinental ballistic missiles, and that “ICBMs appeared in the square heated by the cheers of the spectators.”
Weapons experts will have the chance to examine the missiles that rolled through the streets thanks to a broadcast of the event that could happen on Thursday. State media images suggested a new solid-fuel ICBM may have been on display.
The state’s current arsenal of liquid-fuel ICBMs would not be as easy to move and fire as that type of missile, giving the US less time to shoot one down. New solid-fuel engines that could used in missiles intended to attack US military installations in Japan and Guam as well as an ICBM intended to strike the American mainland were tested by North Korea in recent months.
A military parade is one of the biggest public events a North Korean leader can hold. Close attention will paid to Kim’s daughter, thought to be about 10 years old and one of three children that South Korea’s spy agency believes he had with Ri since they married in 2009.
Her actual name isn’t known, but she’s referred to as Kim Ju Ae by experts who study the reclusive nation. State media now calls her the “respected daughter,” and she’s received prominent attention since making her debut in November when her father brought her to the launch of a new ICBM.
The appearances and propaganda mentions stoking speculation she groomed for a leadership role. In 2010, Kim Jong Un, then 26, made his public debut at a military parade with his father Kim Jong Il.
His attendance that day, plus the fact he made a four-star general and given prominent positions in the ruling party a few weeks earlier, were signs he was the heir apparent.
It is highly unlikely Kim Jong Un would install his elementary school-age daughter in a government role now, a move that would all but assure her of official status. Given Kim’s relatively young age of 39, he could be in power for decades. Still, he’s overweight and a heavy smoker who has battled health problems, so succession is also a subject of concern.
Rachel Minyoung Lee, regional issues manager at the Vienna-based Open Nuclear Network, said the ways state media has referred to Ju Ae over time are noteworthy, but it’s too early to read anything about succession into it.