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“The most powerful army in the world” celebrates the leader’s “beloved” daughter


North Korean state media said today, Wednesday, that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un brought his daughter to visit the army forces to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the founding of the country’s army, where he praised the “irresistible power” of his nuclear-armed army.

The visit comes amid indications that North Korea is preparing to stage a massive military parade in the capital, Pyongyang, where it could display the latest equipment for a growing nuclear weapons program that has alarmed its neighbors and the United States.

In her fourth known public appearance, Kim’s daughter Kim Ju-ae, who is believed to be about 9 or 10 years old, stood close to her father as he shook hands with senior officials and sat next to him.

Analysts say that Kim’s decision to bring his daughter to public events related to his army is to remind the world that he does not intend to voluntarily surrender his nuclear weapons, which he sees as apparently the strongest guarantee of his survival and the extension of his family’s rule.

The noble description by state media of Kim Ju-ae, who was described as “respectable” and “beloved”, also sparked debate about whether she should be named to succeed her father. She attended an ICBM test flight in November and accompanied her father to a meeting with military scientists and a ballistic missile inspection.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency said on Wednesday that Kim visited the residence of general officers of the Korean People’s Army with his daughter. He later gave an encouraging speech to the troops at a banquet, praising them for maintaining “the strongest army in the world” despite external difficulties.

The visit comes a day after Kim chaired a meeting with his top military commanders and called for an expansion of combat exercises aimed at sharpening war readiness.

Official media pictures showed military officials applauding the banquet, which was apparently held at the Yangkdo Hotel in Pyongyang. Dressed in black suits and white shirts, Kim and his daughter held hands as they walked a red carpet alongside Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju.

During his speech, Kim said it was his “greatest honor” and he was pleased to be the supreme commander of an army that “meets the call of the times and history as the most powerful army in the world.”

State media reports on Kim’s visit to the troops did not mention any comments made toward Washington or Seoul. But Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in an editorial on Wednesday that North Korea’s army is ready to launch a “super strong strike with unimaginable force to eliminate the source of provocation without a trace” when faced with enemy threats.

The newspaper said North Korea’s ramped up weapons testing and combat exercises last year were successful demonstrations of the “overwhelming military might” that underpins the government’s escalatory nuclear doctrine and its principle of “all-out confrontation” against enemies.

North Korea has not confirmed its plans for a military parade, which could take place later Wednesday. Pyongyang residents marked the anniversary by visiting Mansu Hill in the city to lay flowers and pay their respects to statues of their late leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il, respectively, the grandfather and father of their ruler, while soldiers lined up to pay their respects.

Commercial satellite images showed weeks of apparent preparations involving huge numbers of troops and civilians for an event usually aimed at glorifying Kim Jong Un’s rule and his relentless push to cement North Korea’s status as a nuclear power.

North Korea also faces deep economic isolation and food shortages, suggesting that the costs of Kim’s nuclear ambitions are piling up.

North Korea is approaching a record year of weapons testing, and the dozens of missiles it launched in 2022 included potentially nuclear-capable systems designed to strike targets in South Korea and the mainland United States.

The intense testing activity was punctuated by fiery statements threatening pre-emptive nuclear strikes against its neighbors and the United States in a wide range of scenarios in which it might see its leadership under threat.