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Kim's daughter attracts the world's attention... Why does the North Korean leader accompany his daughter to launch an intercontinental missile?


 Kim's daughter attracts the world's attention... Why does the North Korean leader accompany his daughter to launch an intercontinental missile? 

A father and daughter walk hand in hand near a weapon of mass destruction. This was the scene North Korea showed the world on Saturday, November 19, when state media released the first pictures of Kim Jong Un with his daughter, Ju Ae, inspecting what experts say is an intercontinental ballistic missile. But why would he do that? 

 Kim's daughter attracts the attention of the world 

 North Korea said the missile launched on Friday 18 November from Pyongyang International Airport was a Hwasong-17, a massive missile that could theoretically deliver a nuclear warhead to the US mainland.

But even after Kim warned that his nuclear forces were ready for "actual war" with Washington and its allies South Korea and Japan, it was the girl, not the missile, that captured the world's attention.

What does it mean to be present at launch? Could she be a possible successor to Kim? What does a girl of about 9 years old have to do with nuclear weapons?

Leif-Eric Easley, associate professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul, South Korea, said the girl's presence should be seen through a domestic lens.

Easley told CNN . "Outside North Korea, it might seem outrageous to stand in front of cameras with a child in front of a long-range missile designed to deliver a nuclear weapon to a distant city,"

"But inside North Korea, the claimed successful launch of the world's largest mobile-launched ICBM is cause for national celebration," he added.

Yang Moo-jin, president of the University of North Korean Studies in South Korea, also pointed to domestic grooming attempts in photos of Kim's daughter. he told Canadian broadcaster Global News "By showing off some quality time with his daughter, it seemed that he (Kim) wanted to show his family the image of a good, stable family, and to show himself as the leader of the common people," . He added that the photos showed the girl as a key member of the Kim dynasty. 

 Can Kim's daughter rule after her father? 

North Korea has been ruled by an inherited dictatorship since its founding in 1948 by Kim Il Sung. His son, Kim Jong Il, took over after his father died in 1994. Kim Jong Un assumed power 17 years later when Kim Jong Il died.

But any near-term change in North Korean leadership is highly unlikely. Kim Jong Un is 38 years old. And even if an unforeseen problem were to take his life, it's possible that his daughter Ju Ae is still at least a decade or more away from being able to replace her father at the top of the North Korean state.

“I'm not really sure what the implications of putting his daughter forward on the question of succession would be,” said Ankit Panda, a senior fellow in the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"On the one hand, it is not to be taken lightly that a North Korean leader would reveal a child publicly, but she is underage, and her role in the missile tests was not attractive to state media," he added. 

 The missile video bears indications 

Panda suggested that the video released by North Korea of ​​an intercontinental ballistic missile launch on Friday, November 18, may be more valuable to Western intelligence than anything it can infer from the existence of Kim's daughter.

"The US has sophisticated sources and methods that will give it insight into North Korea's missiles, but the video could be useful for building a more complete model of the missile's performance," Panda said. "In the past, analysts have used video clips to infer the acceleration of a missile at launch, which can help us determine its overall performance."

According to Panda, this was only the third time that Pyongyang had released a video of a missile launch since 2017. "The North Koreans used to be considerably more transparent before 2017, when their main concern was the credibility of their nuclear deterrent," he said.

While a test on Friday 18 November showed that Pyongyang could launch a large ICBM and keep it aloft for more than an hour, North Korea has yet to demonstrate the ability to mount a warhead on top of a long-range ballistic missile—which are projectiles. Launched into space - and able to survive a fiery re-entry into Earth's atmosphere before hitting its target.

But analysts say the North Koreans are refining their processes through repeated testing. A missile believed to be the Hwasong-17 ICBM that was tested earlier this month failed in the early stages of its flight.

“The fact that (the missile tested Friday) did not explode indicates that they have made progress in fixing the technical problems that characterized previous tests,” said Hans Christensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists. 

 What comes next from North Korea is anyone's guess 

For much of this year, Western analysts and intelligence sources have predicted that North Korea will test a nuclear weapon, as satellite imagery shows activity at the nuclear test site. Such a test would be Pyongyang's first in 5 years.

But Yang, the president of the University of North Korean Studies, told Global News that Friday's test may have calmed the urgency of a nuclear test, at least for the time being.

"The possibility of North Korea's seventh nuclear test in November seems a bit low now," he said.

But he indicated that another ICBM test could be Pyongyang's response if the United States continues to build up its military presence in the region and expand exercises with South Korea and Japan. 
Source : arabicpost

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