Why Kim Jung Un Wants You to Meet His Daughter The North Korean regime appears to be facing a possible dictatorship which will roll over to its fourth generation, an unprecedented feat given the country’s long history of authoritarianism. Kim Jung Un, the youthful dictator (39), has taken the opportunity to bring out his 9-year-old daughter, Kim Ju Ae, out into the public eye during the country’s missile testing events. Jung Un has brought out his daughter three times thus far in the past month. (asia.nikkei.com) Various sources, however, have brought up possible reasons why this is happening at this moment in time. The suspicion regarding the succession is mainly due to how uncharacteristic this is of the North Korea’s overlord, who has always shrouded his personal life in mystery. That is how it has always been with the North Korean dynasty that has reigned its shackles on its people for several decades now. Not many were in “the know’, as far as we can tell. But the decision to bring his nine-year-old, according to the popular Asian site, appears to be a strategic marketing ploy for Un to display a more “patriarchal image” of the father figure who rules over Pyanguong.
Others have speculated that this is another one of North Korea’s attempts to garner more attention on an international scale by way of flexing its dictatorial muscles in front of the world by giving the image of the almighty regime that is propping up the next generation for rulership. According to Asia Nikkei, the news source that covers all things Asia, stated that this succession would be quite the exception compared to previous ones. “It might seem unusually early to introduce her as his presumed heir, though, since Kim Jong Un is just 39. Kim Jong Il, his father, ruled the country until he died of a stroke in 2011 at age 70 while Grandfather Kim Il Sung, the founder of the regime, governed until his death at 82.” As shown, this would be quite a unique situation held by North Korean if Jung Un decides to pass the throne to his daughter. Others have suspected that Jung Un is displaying the strength of his iron grip by showing the true power of his family’s dynasty and his attempts to preserve it. One theory has stated that Kim Jung Un wanted to groom his daughter in the realm of power to avoid the humiliation and ‘bad public image’ that he had gone through when he took over at the tender age of 27.
A summary would explain the troubles that Un faced when he was trying to establish himself as a world leader while he was seated with military generals who were in their 60s and 70s. (Asia Nikkei) It may be possible that he understands how vital experience is if she is to be new ruler. In the case that his “most beloved” daughter takes the throne, she would need to face many catastrophes that national and international affairs would bring. It is no secret how tumultuous the North Korean landscape has been along with the living conditions that its citizens have been subjected to live in. In addition to the questionable antics behind the succession of the current heir of North Korea, there is a reported ‘power struggle’ for the authority of the country. Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-Jong, has been keeping an eye on the throne for quite some time, but she has Ju Ae as a major thorn in her way.
According to the Daily Beast, “Victor Cha, who oversaw North Korea issues with the National Security Council during the George W. Bush presidency, sees the burst of publicity for Ju Ae as showing once again that “succession in North Korea is always vertical, not horizontal”—meaning power must pass to the offspring, not to a brother or sister.”(DailyBeast.com) This natural transition to power has proved to be quite problematic to the dictator’s sibling. But historically, these methods of succession have always proved to be ego-shattering to the current leader’s immediate family members such as their sister, brother and many more who may have felt more qualified to take over.
As previously stated, the issue regarding the succession is revolving heavily on the health of the North Korean leader, whose weight has become a major concern of his for some time. The exposure and education that he is providing to his daughter may be a possible attempt to bring in the successful transfer of power before things get out of hand, health wise. According to Asia Nikkei, “By revealing his possible successor early on, Kim wants to make sure his authority will be recognized immediately should the North Korean leader depart the scene prematurely.” For whatever reason it may be, there is no doubt that the possible succession of Ju Ae would raise a lot eyebrows and attract more eyeballs to North Korean. Many may speculate and theorize but nothing is certain until it happens. We would just have to wait and see…
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