Photos released by the North Korean news agency are the first official confirmation of the existence of Kim Jong-un’s daughter.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has presented his daughter to the world for the first time in striking photos showing the couple holding hands inspection of the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korea’s official Central News Agency (KCNA) said on Saturday that Kim Jong-un had attended the test firing of the ICBM “along with his beloved daughter and wife.”

Photos released by KCNA were the first official confirmation of the existence of the North Korean leader’s daughter.

KCNA did not name the girl, who is pictured in a white puffy coat, holding hands with her father as she takes a huge Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) photo released by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 19, 2022.  KCNA via REUTERS EDITOR ATTENTION - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.  NO SELLING TO THIRD PARTIES.  SOUTH KOREA OUT.  NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.  REUTERS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un inspects an intercontinental ballistic missile with his daughter in this photo released by North Korea’s Central News Agency (KCNA) on November 19, 2022 [KCNA via Reuters]

North Korea launched what it said was a Hwasong-17 ICBM on Friday. The missile traveled 1,000 km (622 mi) on a high trajectory and landed about 200 km (124 mi) west of Oshima-Oshima Island in northern Hokkaido Prefecture, according to Japanese officials.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency said on Saturday that before the release of photos on Saturday, there was only speculation that Kim and wife Ri Sol Ju had three children, born in 2010, 2013 and 2017.

The only prior confirmation that the couple had children came from former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who made a quixotic visit to Pyongyang in 2013 and claimed to have met Kim’s daughter.

After his trip to North Korea that year, Rodman told The Guardian newspaper that he spent time with Kim and his family and held their baby. Rodman said Kim had a “baby” daughter named Ju Ae, who is now estimated to be about 12 or 13 years old.

The North Korean leader was “a good father,” Rodman said at the time.

Kim – the grandson of North Korea’s founding leader Kim Il Sung and the third generation of the Kim family to run the country – married Ri Sol Ju in 2009, according to the Seoul spy agency.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un speaks with his wife Ri Sol Ju on the day of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launch in this undated photo released Nov. 19, 2022 by Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA) of North Korea.  KCNA via REUTERS EDITOR ATTENTION - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.  NO SELLING TO THIRD PARTIES.  SOUTH KOREA OUT.  NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.  REUTERS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, with his daughter (second from left) and wife Ri Sol Ju (third from left), on the day of an intercontinental ballistic missile launch in this photo released Nov. 19, 2022. by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency [KCNA via Reuters]

Introducing his daughter to the world at this time could send an international message that the North Korean regime will remain, Soo Kim, a former CIA analyst who now works at the RAND Corporation, told Agence France news agency -Press.

“In a way, it’s a symbolic photo of Kim passing on the scepter of rulership to the next generation,” Soo Kim said, adding that the photos also suggest “a certain closeness and comfort between Kim and his daughter,” which would suggest may indicate that she is being groomed for future leadership.

The photos may also be part of a carefully staged attempt by Pyongyang to show Kim is a “normal” leader, North Korean scientist Ahn Chan-il told AFP.

“Pyongyang seems to be trying to brand itself as a ‘normal’ nation — as it conducts these ICBM launches that show off its military prowess — by showing images of Kim who is an apparently doting father,” Ahn said.

“It is also a gesture to stabilize the regime by declaring to the outside world that it is now moving towards its fourth-generation succession and is well prepared for it.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) in this undated photo released November 19, 2022 by North Korea's Central News Agency (KCNA).  KCNA via REUTERS EDITOR ATTENTION - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.  NO SELLING TO THIRD PARTIES.  SOUTH KOREA OUT.  NO COMMERCIAL OR EDITORIAL SALES IN SOUTH KOREA.  REUTERS CANNOT INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THIS IMAGE.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches an intercontinental ballistic missile launch with his daughter in this photo released by North Korea’s Central News Agency of Korea on November 19, 2022 [KCNA via Reuters]



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