It can’t be easy being the daughter of one of the world’s most notorious dictators, but North Koreans apparently have zero sympathy for Kim Jong-un’s little girl.
Kim Ju-ae has recently been making public appearances with her dad, and whilst there’s scant public information about the leader’s “beloved child” (as she’s known), the country’s citizens have seized on her well-fed and groomed appearance.
One resident of the kingdom recently told Radio Free Asia (RFA): “The people are saying things like, ‘She must be eating so well, her face is so white and plump like the moon’.
“Most people aren’t able to eat properly so their cheekbones stick out from their faces even more than ever before,” they added.
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North Korea is in the grips of a worsening food crisis, according to South Korean reports. Over recent decades, the country has suffered serious food shortages, often a result of natural disasters such as floods damaging harvests.
The isolated country is under strict international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, and in recent years its limited border trade was virtually choked off by self-imposed Covid lockdowns.
Last month, the US-based monitoring group 38 North said the nation’s "food availability has likely fallen below the bare minimum with regard to human needs", with food insecurity at its worst since the famines it suffered in the 1990s.
Another source told RFA that residents of South Pyongan were furious at the disparity between the looks of Ju-ae (who is believed to be around 10 years old) and their own children, given the crisis they are all facing.
The 'beloved child', as she's known, stands proudly beside her notorious fatherReuters
“They are angry to see the plump white face of the Beloved Child appearing so often in propaganda,” the source said.
“They say that she looks so different from the children of the common people, who cannot even eat three meals a day due to a lack of food.”
This anonymous confessor also called out the hypocrisy of rules banning North Korea’s young people from growing their hair or showing an interest in “capitalist” fashions while their leader’s daughter sports designer clothes.
“Kim Ju-ae’s clothing and appearance are completely different from what an ordinary teenage girl could get away with,” they complained.
The girl looks healthy and well-groomed in the photos released of herReuters
Ju-ae has been centre stage with her father and mother at major military events over the past month.
Her time in the limelight has added to speculation that she could be in line for a leadership position – maybe even the top job itself – in the dictatorship.
"For all we know this is just [Kim] doting on a favourite child, but the more that she shows up, the more it seems that she's either being fully groomed for leadership or at least floated as a possibility," Mason Richey, a professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul, told Reuters.
The girl has not been named in state media since she was first shown attending a missile launch with her dad last year, but South Korean intelligence officials believe she is the daughter identified as Ju-ae by former American basketball player Dennis Rodman, who spent time with Kim's family in 2013.
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