SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The daughter of North Korean ruler Kim Jong Un The man, who was recently seen for the first time publicly at a missile launch site, is his second child, aged about 10, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers on Tuesday, as speculation swirled about his motives to bring them to the attention of the outside world.
On Saturday, North Korea said Kim watched the launch of the country’s most powerful ICBM – Hwasong-17 – the day before with his wife Ri Sol Ju and their “beloved daughter”. State media released photos showing Kim walking hand-in-hand with a young girl in a white coat and red shoes by a massive rocket placed on a launch cart and watching a high-flying gun from afar.
In a closed briefing before a parliamentary committee, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, the country’s main spying agency, told lawmakers it believes the daughter is Kim’s second child, named Ju Ae, who is about 10 years old old, said Yoo Sang-bum, one of the lawmakers who attended the session.
The NIS determined that she is Kim’s second child because her appearance matched the information that she is taller and taller than other girls of the same age, Yoo quoted the NIS as saying.
Youn Kun-young, who also attended the NIS meeting, said he was also informed that she was Kim’s second child but declined to give further details.
The NIS said it could not confirm the lawmaker’s comments. As a rule, she neither confirms nor denies the content of her private briefings in Parliament. The NIS has a patchy record of confirming developments in North Korea, one of the world’s most secretive nations.
The daughter is apparently Kim’s child, who saw retired NBA star Dennis Rodman during his trip to Pyongyang in 2013. After that visit to Pyongyang, Rodman told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that he and Kim spent “relaxing time by the sea” with the leader’s family and that he was holding Kim’s baby daughter, named Ju Ae.
It was the first time North Korea officially acknowledged its existence. North Korea’s state media last week did not disclose Kim’s daughter’s age, name or other details. South Korean media have speculated that Kim married Ri in 2009 and that they have three children born in 2010, 2013 and 2017 respectively. According to some reports, Kim’s first child is a son and the third is a daughter.
Kim, 38, is the third generation of his family, who have ruled North Korea since 1948. He inherited power in late 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.
Kim and his father were both first mentioned in state media reports after they came of age. Given that, the revelation of the daughter, believed to be in her early teens, came as a surprise to outside observers.
Some experts say the unveiling of the daughter at a missile testing site showed Kim was encouraged by his advancing nuclear arsenal, the backbone of his family’s rule. Others speculate that if Kim continues to take her to major public events, it may indicate that Kim may have her on his mind as his early heir.
North Korea’s main newspaper Rodong Sinmun said Sunday it will continue to expand its nuclear arsenal to ensure “the bright smiles and beautiful dreams of our future generations,” either to justify its nuclear ambitions or to show that its family runs the nation’s nuclear and missile programs .