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North Korea's Kim Jong encourages troops with daughter in tow

Ju Ae had made an appearance with her father in November

NORTHKOREA-MILITARY/ANNIVERSARY North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, his wife Ri Sol Ju and their daughter Kim Ju Ae attend a banquet to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Korean People's Army the following day, in Pyongyang, North Korea February 7, 2023 | Reuters

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un brought his daughter to a lavish dinner at a military barracks, hinting that the girl might eventually be his successor in an authoritarian family regime dating back decades.

The girl — believed to be Kim’s second child, Ju Ae, who is around 9 years old – and her father was joined by his wife, Ri Sol Ju, in the visit to the barracks and subsequent banquet to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army (KPA), state media reported Wednesday.

According to Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), seeing Kim and “his respected” daughter was like a dream come true for the military officials at the banquet.

The visit came amid indications North Korea is preparing to stage a massive military parade in the capital Pyongyang where it could showcase the latest hardware of a growing nuclear weapons program that stokes the concern of its neighbours and the United States.

North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said Kim visited an unspecified barracks with his daughter, Kim Ju Ae. Kim Jong Un later gave an encouraging speech to troops at a banquet, praising them for maintaining the world's strongest military despite external difficulties.

Ju Ae had made an appearance with her father in November. She and her father took group photos with scientists, technicians, officials and other workers involved in the "test-launch of its Hwasong-17 ICBM." Ju Ae had made her first public appearance early in November at a missile launch site observing the North's intercontinental ballistic missile.

North Korea is coming off a record-breaking year in weapons testing, and the dozens of missiles it fired in 2022 included potentially nuclear-capable systems designed to strike targets in South Korea and the U.S. mainland.

The intensified testing activity was punctuated by fiery statements threatening preemptive nuclear attacks against its neighbours and the United States in a broad range of scenarios where it may perceive its leadership as under threat. 

-- With PTI inputs


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