Pictured: Kim Jong-un's daughter dines with military chiefs
Kim Jong-un’s daughter has appeared in public for a fourth time, at a banquet with top military commanders ahead of an expected mass parade to showcase the regime’s firepower.
The young girl, believed to be around 10 years old and named Ju-ae, was photographed on Tuesday dressed in a formal black suit and white blouse while seated at a dining table between her smiling parents and surrounded by decorated military commanders.
Kim Jong-un was paying tribute to soldiers at the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People’s Army, state news agency KCNA reported on Wednesday, along with a series of pictures from the banquet.
"For the strengthening and development of our armed forces, let us all double our efforts and do more for the prosperous development of the socialist motherland," he said during a speech at the event.
The new photos of Ju-ae, described repeatedly by state media as the “beloved daughter,” show her walking in black heels along a red carpet inside a top Pyongyang hotel beside Kim and her mother Ri Sol-ju.
The child appears to be affectionate with her father and is seen smiling at a table scattered with full wine glasses and red and orange flowers.
She was first introduced to the public in November when she was pictured holding Kim’s hand as they inspected a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).
Her appearance unleashed a wave of speculation about whether she may be Kim’s anointed successor or if he was simply trying to forge his image as a family man. The regime has given no indication of why she was suddenly thrust into the public eye and her name has not been confirmed by state media.
Kim’s remarks at the banquet followed his pledge this week to expand military drills and bolster his nuclear-armed country’s war readiness posture.
The military’s founding anniversary is likely to also be marked by a mass parade in Pyongyang’s Kim Il Sung square – an expectation that has been fuelled by satellite imagery of troops practicing in formation.
Illuminated jets and propeller planes flew low over Pyongyang in the early hours of Wednesday morning, suggesting a rehearsal or that the parade had already taken place, reported the Seoul-based NK News site.
It said videos showed the aircraft were lit up with apparent LED lights and at one point flew in a formation that appeared to spell out the number “75,” likely signifying the anniversary. Music could also be heard coming from the square.
The country’s last four military parades have been held in the dark and footage released after the event, rather than in real-time.
The processions are often used to display new weapons, including missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads. In 2022, North Korea carried out an unprecedented volley of missile tests and is believed to be ready to trigger a seventh nuclear test.