Explained: Kim Jong Un's daughter is seen more than ever. Why now?
The world knows little about Kim Jong Un's family, children per se, but recent public appearances of his daughter have intrigued people across the world, especially those who speculate who will be the next North Korean leader—the heir of this dynasty-ruled nuclear-armed nation. Kim's daughter, who is identified by some source-based media reports as Kim Ju Ae, is believed to be 10 years old and was recently spotted inspecting a guard of honour, among other high-profile appearances.
She was then seen alongside her father watching a sports event, which was also attended by senior government officials and her aunt, Kim Yo Jong.
What do we know about Kim's daughter with absolute certainty? Basically, nothing! Not even her birth date. But when she was spotted smiling, happy, stroking her father's face, it definitely looked cute and genuine.
What do we know about Kim Jong Un's children?
Ju's image went viral when she was seen with her father almost three months ago at the launch of North Korea's most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile.
Previously, former NBA star Dennis Rodman had confirmed her existence, who claimed to have met Kim's baby daughter, named Ju Ae, during a 2013 visit to North Korea.
According to media reports, Kim and his wife Ri Sol Ju have three children — two girls and a boy. Ju is believed to be Kim's second child.
Although her name hasn't been officially confirmed, the South Korean spy agency and some experts identify her as Ju Ae. Apart from her, there is no information available regarding his other daughter and son.
What's behind the recent appearances? And why North Korea is sharing the photos with the world?
We can say... what happens in North Korea, stays in North Korea. The world sees of North Korea, what the nation and its state-controlled media want to show to the world. The nation will show missile launches, but won't reveal the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, if the deadly virus really entered the nation.
North Korea, especially the Kim regime is obsessively secretive with its various policies, hence the recent act of releasing Ju Ae's images via state media is all the more mysterious.
Some media reports claim that the North Korean leader is trying to brand himself as a family guy and as a feminist to avoid the fear of not losing behind in this "modern world".
But will North Korea accept a female leader?
As quoted by the news agency AFP, Bronwen Dalton, who is the head of the department of management at the University of Technology Sydney's business school, said that when it comes to women assuming political leadership roles, North Korea's glass ceiling has been bulletproof.
But she also agreed that change is afoot and the nation's leadership is trying to "maintain its legitimacy by creating a new version of womanhood" that reflects social changes in the country over recent decades.
North Korea was forced to adjust its archaic version of an ideal woman to some extent as the younger generations have "grown up buying and selling in markets, using mobile phones and accessing foreign media content".
In the current scenario, leadership has the representation of high-profile women, including foreign minister Choe Son-hui and Kim's younger sister Kim Yo Jong, who is a regime spokeswoman. But the leadership is predominantly male.
Dalton told the news agency that Kim is "presiding over a propaganda apparatus forging a new narrative on the place of women". But also added that crucially, the most important role of all North Korean women is "devotion to their 'father' Kim Jong Un", and Ju Ae is perfect with this.