Thursday, December 8

North Korea’s Kim Reveals Daughter to Public at ICBM Launch


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of “a new type” of intercontinental ballistic missile and brought along his daughter, who made her first official appearance in state media.

Article content

(Bloomberg) — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of “a new type” of intercontinental ballistic missile and brought along his daughter, who made her first official appearance in state media.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Kim, who himself had been absent from public view for about a month, was shown in the country’s main newspaper Rodong Sinmun in photos with his daughter, including one where they hold hands and walk in front of the missile as it sits on a launcher. The ICBM launch on Friday came after Pyongyang warned the US to halt allied military drills in the region or face retribution.

Article content

The state’s official Korean Central News Agency said Saturday that Kim was present at the test site with “his beloved daughter and wife” in order to “personally guide the whole course of the test-fire.”

KCNA said its Hwasong-17 ICBM was launched at Pyongyang International Airport and traveled at a maximum altitude of 6,041 kilometers (3,753 miles) for 999 kilometers before landing in waters to the east of the country. The flight data from North Korea was in line with numbers released by South Korea and Japan, which added the missile had an implied range of more than 15,000 kilometers — enough to reach the US.

Advertisement 3

Article content

The latest test underscored the challenges the Biden administration faces in trying to slow down Kim’s atomic ambitions. The North Korean leader is finding space to ramp up provocations and conduct tit-for-tat military moves against the US and its allies as Biden focuses’ on Russia war in Ukraine. Russia and China, two long-time partners of North Korea, have veto power at the UN Security Council and have shown no interest in punishing Kim with extra sanctions.

“The recent dangerous situation in which the US and other hostile forces’ military threats get ever more undisguised around the DPRK more urgently requires it to substantially accelerate the bolstering of its overwhelming nuclear deterrence,” state media on Saturday recited Kim, as fer say the country by its formal name.

Advertisement 4

Article content

US Vice President Kamala Harris convened a meeting Friday with leaders from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea on the sidelines of an international gathering in Bangkok, where they denounced the test. “We strongly condemn these actions, and we again call for North Korea to stop further unlawful, destabilizing acts,” she said.

Soo Kim, a policy analyst with the Rand Corp. who previously worked at the Central Intelligence Agency, said Kim Jong Un may have wanted to show the public the fourth generation of his family that has ruled the country since its foundation not only exists, but “holds promising prospects.”

“Perhaps Kim wanted to make it clear to the rest of us that (1) the weapons are a permanent fixture of the regime, (2) his life and that of his children are dependent on them, and (3) therefore, to forgo Weapons would be an act of self-annihilation,” Soo Kim said.

Advertisement 5

Article content

Kim Jong Un has ignored the Biden administration’s calls for him to return to nuclear disarmament talks that have been stalled for about three years. State media recently said he reaffirmed his opposition to negotiations with the US after declaring in September that North never gave up nuclear arms or denuclearize first.”

Kim Jong Un Lied About Firing Newer Version of ICBM, Seoul Says

North Korea also released several images of the missile, including one in flight being watched by Kim and his daughter. The photos will be used by weapons experts to see if the launch was actually of a Hwasong-17 — the country’s newest ICBM — after one Failed in flight in March over the skies of Pyongyang and the state tried to cover it up with a doctored video released to the outside world.

Advertisement 6

Article content

The Hwasong-17 is considered by weapons experts to be the world’s largest road-worthy ICBM and likely designed to carry a multiple nuclear warhead payload to the US mainland.

It is almost unheard of for a North Korean leader to show one of their children in public until they are old enough to assume a role in the state apparatus. Kim’s daughter appeared to be a school girl and far too young to take on any political duties .

South Korean intelligence said Kim married Ri Sol Ju in 2009 and they are thought to have three children. Up until now, there has been no official mention of their offspring, but Dennis Rodman, the offbeat basketball great who visited Kim in North Korea, sa In 2013 he held the leader’s baby girl in his arms, a daughter named Ju Ae.

Advertisement 7

Article content

North Korea has fired over 65 ballistic missiles this year, more than twice the amount test-launched in any other year during Kim’s decade in power. Kim has been modernizing his arsenal by adding missiles that are quicker to deploy, maneuverable in flight and more difficult for US-operated interceptors in the region to shoot down.

The US, Japan and South Korea have warned that Pyongyang could soon raise tensions even higher with a nuclear test, which would be its first in five years and seventh overall. Washington, Tokyo and Seoul have all promised a harsh and coordinated punishment it Pyongyang goes ahead with a nuclear test, which would also be a violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The test might be used to advance Kim’s pursuit of miniaturized nuclear warheads that he could mount on missiles to strike the US allies that host the bulk of America’s troops in Asia.

North Korea last launched a suspected ICBM on Nov. 3 — a rocket that flew eastward and reached an altitude of 1,920 kilometers before failing, according to South Korea’s military. It also fired a short-range ballistic missile Thursday.

“Kim may have wanted to show the US and the international community that his country will remain defiant towards international condemnation and calls for North Korea to stop testing,” Soo Kim said.

Advertisement

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.



financialpost.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *