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The deadlock on the North Korean issue, a subject at the heart of the divisions of the international community

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The North Korean question has taken a family turn, with the dissemination, several days in a row, by the Pyongyang media of photos showing the leader Kim Jong-un assisting, in the company of his first daughter, in the firing of a ballistic missile intercontinental (ICBM) Hwasong-17, which aroused strong reactions.

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On Tuesday, November 22, the South Korean intelligence services, the NIS, identified the young girl who appeared in the photos wearing a white fur jacket with her father in khaki, but also her mother, Ri Sol- ju, and her aunt, the influential Kim Yo-jong, as Ju-ae, Mr. Kim’s eldest child. Also according to the NIS, the North Korean leader married Ri Sol-ju in 2009. The couple would have a son, born in 2010, and two daughters, born in 2013 and 2017.

The reasons for publicly presenting one of the daughters of the North Korean leader remain a subject of questioning. Maybe Kim Jong-un wants “soften his image”, as John Delury of South Korea’s Yonsei University suggests on Twitter? Or this staging is linked to the succession of Mr. Kim, the operation constituting “a way to stifle any ambition among North Korean elites”advance for his part Michael Madden, specialist in North Korea at the Wilson Center.

“Destabilizing actions”

It is perhaps also a question of blurring the criticisms raised at the international level after the firing of the Hwasong-17 carried out on Friday, November 18. Reviled the same day in Bangkok by six countries, including the United States, Japan and Australia, at the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum, the firing of the ICBM was the subject of condemnation, Monday, November 21, by the G7, which called on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to “cease its destabilizing actions”at “to resume talks on denuclearization and to accept the offers of dialogue made by the United States, Japan and South Korea”.

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On the same day, the UN Security Council failed to agree on the North Korean issue. After recalling that the Pyongyang regime had fired 63 missiles since the start of 2022, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said “encouraged” other board members “to strongly condemn the DPRK and take measures to curb its development of illegal weapons of mass destruction and progress in the development of ballistic missiles”.

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