Monday (November 28th): North Korea’s new Kim!

Kim Jong-un
The White House from Washington, DC

Name? Kim Jong-un

Westphalian identity? North Korean

Age? 38

Why is he in the news? Kim Jong-un is the news for two reasons. First, this week he said his country’s ultimate goal is to possess the world’s most powerful nuclear force. Second, and more importantly, this week we saw his second daughter and “most beloved” child for the second time ever, after she made her first public appearance last week. 

Why do we care? As always, because of the IR gossip this creates about the 10 year old girl being Kim’s successor. Because let’s be honest, avid readers of our Daily Updates know that the nuclear announcement is only a cry for attention and does not impact your life in any meaningful way. However, the conversation about his succession is a lot more interesting to us because introducing his daughter at such a young age is unusual for the Kim dynasty; both Jong-un and his father were only introduced to the public as adults. Ultimately this does connect back to the nuclear issue as introducing her now reflects Kim’s resolve to protect the security of North Korea over generations and how nuclear weapons are the key to that.

Why should you care? Except for the gossip there is no reason why you should care, routine threats about nuclear weapons should be ignored. You should care 1/10. 

Who else cares? Intelligence officials all over the world who want to understand North Korea and Kim. 

Any further comments? Especially the fact that the Supreme Leader appears to have chosen his second born daughter over his first born son makes one wonder. The potential pushback she could receive from the male dominated military and society has already been discussed while Kim’s health was uncertain and his younger sister Kim Yo-jong seemed to replace him. This means that he must favour his daughter’s abilities a lot over his son’s or that this is propaganda aimed at something other than succession.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator