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Kim Jong Un puts daughter front and center during a lavish military banquet

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has taken a girl thought likely to be his son to an elaborate meal at a barracks for military personnel on Tuesday, in the latest evidence the girl may be being cultivated as his potential successor to an oppressive family system that dates many decades.

The girl, likely to be Kim’s daughter, Ju Ae, who is 9 years old – and her father were with the wife of his, Ri Sol Ju during the visit to the barracks as well as the subsequent dinner to commemorate the anniversary celebration of founding of the Korean People’s Army (KPA) according to state media on Wednesday.

An Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report described the sighting of Kim along with “his respected” daughter as an opportunity to fulfill a dream for military officials attending the dinner.

Images published by the state-owned Rodong Sinmun newspaper showed the girl walking alongside Kim along with her parents when they arrived at the banquet venue, as military officers clapped.

The girl was sitting in the middle of the table with Kim with her mum.

In a nation in which the Kim family as well as the military are influential and powerful, the participation of the girl in such important events sends strong signals, according to Leif-Eric Easley, an associate instructor in Ewha University in Seoul.

“By ostentatiously including his wife and daughter, Kim wants observers at home and abroad to see his family dynasty and the North Korean military as irrevocably linked,” Kim said.

Other observers have stated that it’s obvious Kim is making a decision of his successor. This confirms the speculation that started with the girl’s appearance during the November launch of a test-launch of an intercontinental ballistic rocket (ICBM) alongside her father.

South Korean lawmaker and secretary of the National Intelligence Service Yoo Sang-bum declared after the event she was believed to be Ju Ae.

The images showed the two going hands in hand as they inspected the huge missile. state media described Kim as Kim’s “beloved” daughter.

North Korean state media published an article later in the month that included photos of Kim and his daughter. He described the girl as his “most beloved” child, said Cheong Seong-chang, who is a Senior analyst with the Sejong Institute in South Korea.

Military officers cheer North Korean leader Kim Jong Un along with his daughter and wife on their way to an army barracks on Tuesday, in an image published by the state-owned media.

Military officers cheer North Korean leader Kim Jong Un along with his daughter and wife as they visit the military barracks on Tuesday, in an image published by the state-run media.

Rodong Sinmun

“Considering these, there is no longer any doubt that Kim Ju Ae has been appointed as the successor to Kim Jong Un, and it is necessary to pay attention to how this will affect North Korea’s domestic and foreign policies in the mid- to long-term, and how North Koreans will accept the succession of the fourth generation,” Cheong stated.

The Kim family’s rule in North Korea stretches back to 1948, the year that Kim Il Sung came to power following World War II.

After his death in 1994 His younger son Kim Jong Il took control of the country. Kim Jong Un came to power in December 2011 , following the passing of Kim Jong Il, his father.

There’s no sign that Kim Jong Un would pass to the top spot anytime soon.

Although it is true that the Kim regime has previously held events like these for the military, images from the Tuesday’s banquet showed an extravagant setting that previously seen.

“Kim’s lavish banquet commemorating the armed forces is meant to show that officers are highly respected in society and soldiers are well supported by the state,” Easley stated.

KCNA said Kim Jong Un had made remarks at the banquet where Kim Jong Un’s speech was a praise of the military. North Korean leader praised and supported the military without mentioning South Korea or the United States or South Korea.

The Tuesday’s banquet was held a day prior to what experts believe to be the biggest North Korean military parade.

Pyongyang is just coming off a record-breaking year of missile testing and experts are hoping to witness examples of these missiles as well as other missiles during an event scheduled to kick off late Wednesday night.

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