Girl seen with Kim Jong Un is his second child, Seoul says

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s daughter, who was recently seen in public for the first time at a missile launch site, is his second child, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers on Tuesday, amid speculation about his motives for bringing she to the attention of the outside world.

North Korea said on Saturday that Kim had watched the launch of the country’s most powerful intercontinental ballistic missile – the Hwasong-17 – the previous day with his wife Ri Sol Ju and their “beloved daughter”. State media released photos showing Kim walking hand-in-hand with a young girl wearing a white coat and red shoes past a massive missile mounted on a carrier truck and watching a hovering weapon from a distance.

In a closed-door briefing at a parliamentary committee, South Korea’s National Intelligence Service, the country’s top spy agency, told lawmakers it believed the daughter was Kim’s second child, named Ju Ae, Yoo Sang-bum, one of the lawmakers present on a date, he said.

Youn Kun-young, who also attended the NIS briefing, confirmed the gist of Yoo’s comments but declined to provide further details.

The daughter is apparently Kim’s child, whom retired NBA star Dennis Rodman saw during his trip to Pyongyang in 2013. After that visit to Pyongyang, Rodman told Britain’s Guardian newspaper that he and Kim had “some down time over the sea’ with the leader’s family and that he was holding Kim’s daughter, named Ju Ae.

It was the first time North Korea had officially confirmed its existence. North Korea’s state media did not release the age, name and other details of Kim’s daughter last week. South Korean media speculated that Kim married Ri in 2009 and that the two have three children who were born in 2010, 2013 and 2017 respectively.

Kim, 38, is the third generation of his family to rule North Korea since 1948. He inherited power in late 2011 after the death of his father, Kim Jong Il.

Kim and his father were first mentioned in state media reports after they became adults. That being said, the revelation of the daughter, believed to be in her early teens, came as a surprise to outside observers.

Some experts say the daughter’s revelation at a missile test site shows Kim has been emboldened by his advancing nuclear arsenal, the backbone of his family’s rule. Others have speculated that if Kim continues to bring her to major public events, it could suggest that Kim may have her as his early successor in mind.

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