The daughter of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is “enjoying a life of luxury” while the country’s citizens are still dealing with a mounting food crisis, according to the South Korean National Intelligence Services. But for the past few months, Kim has been preoccupied with showing off his arsenal of powerful, devastating missiles, which he uses to defend his supremacy.
The intelligence agency claimed in a news report from The Metro that Ju-ae, who is thought to be around 10 years old, leads a luxury lifestyle and spends her free time swimm ing, skiing, and riding horses. She is educated at home in Pyongyang and has never attended a formal educational institution.
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Kim is pleased that Ju-ae is “very good” at horseback riding, according to the NIS, which provided the information while briefing lawmakers and politicians.
The news outlet further reported that while the girl reportedly enjoys her comfortable lifestyle, many regular North Koreans are struggling to put food on their tables. Last week, the United Nations and South Korean authorities suggested the food supply has now ‘dipped below the amount needed to satisfy minimum human needs’.
Who is Kim Ju Ae?
For years, North Korean state media never mentioned Kim’s children, although Seoul’s spy agency has said he has three with his wife. They are believed to be aged around 13; 10; and six.
The only previous confirmation of their existence had come from former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who claimed he met a baby daughter of Kim called Ju Ae during a 2013 visit to North Korea.
Kim’s daughter made her debut in state media in November 2022 at one of the missile tests, when she held her father’s hand and strolled by an ICBM before a launch. Since then, she has featured prominently in state media.
Although North Korea has never officially identified her by name, Seoul’s spy agency and analysts believe the girl is Ju Ae, Kim’s second child.
State media now calls her the “respected daughter,” and the appearances are stoking speculation she’s being groomed for a leadership role. In 2010, Kim Jong Un, then 26 years old, made his public debut at a military parade with his father, Kim Jong Il.
Ju Ae’s prominence is only the latest example of Kim’s willingness to share the spotlight with prominent women. Besides frequent appearances with his wife, he has made his sister, Kim Yo Jong, the face of the regime’s dealings with the US and South Korea. He also recently made Choe Son Hui the country’s first female foreign minister.
Meanwhile, North Korea’s ability to deliver a nuclear strike has grown to the point that there are calls to declare Pyongyang a nuclear weapons state. The change would lead to a revamp of a decades-old US policy aimed at preventing that from happening while seeking the complete, verifiable, and irreversible end of its atomic arsenal.
(With inputs from agencies)
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