- North Korea is banning its people from using the same name as Kim Jong Un’s daughter, RFA reported.
- Anyone with the name “Ju Ae” now must change their birth certificate, two unnamed sources told RFA.
- The attention on Kim’s daughter shows he wants her to be seen, said an expert on North Korea.
North Korean authorities are compelling girls and women to change their names if they’re called “Ju Ae” — the name of Kim Jong Un’s daughter, Radio Free Asia reported.
The outlet cited two anonymous sources — one living in North Pyongan and the other living in South Pyongan — who said local governments in the cities of Jeongju and Pyongsong issued orders for the women to change their birth certificates.
“Yesterday, the Ministry of Security in Jeongju City summoned women registered with the resident registration department under the name ‘Ju Ae’ to the Ministry of Safety to change their names,” one of the residents said in RFA’s Friday report.
They said a 12-year-old girl in their neighborhood was named Ju Ae, and her parents were told to report to the Ministry of Safety to change her birth certificate, per RFA.
Authorities said her name is now reserved for persons of “the highest dignity,” the unnamed source added.
Kim Ju Ae, believed to be 10 years old, is the only one of Kim’s three children to be revealed to the public. She made her public debut when she and her father inspected an intercontinental ballistic missile test launch in November.
The girl was put in the spotlight again on Wednesday, attending a highly publicised state banquet and taking photos with North Korea’s top generals.
The attention showered on Kim’s daughter has led to speculation that she might be groomed to succeed her father.
Kim himself banned people from holding the name “Jong Un,” ordering those with his name in 2014 to legally alter their birth certificates.
“The directive was ‘voluntary,’ but as we know, few things are voluntary in North Korea, especially when it comes to orders from the leadership,” Soo Kim, a former CIA analyst and now a policy analyst at US-based think tank Rand Corporation, told Insider.
“So this most recent name ban is not anything out of the ordinary for North Korea,” she said. But it’s too early to say what the future holds for Kim’s daughter, and this only tells us that he wants his child to be seen, she said.
The regime still hasn’t confirmed that the girl has been earmarked for succession, and state media also hasn’t started the usual preemptive anointing and glorification of a designated successor, she said.
Under North Korea’s previous dictators, heirs apparent would be given important titles. Before Kim took power in late 2011, he was made the equivalent of a four-star general and was given key party posts.
“Suppose, however, that Kim opts to break from tradition and carve out his own unique path to designate and groom his successor. It’s much more difficult to predict the regime’s behavior in this case, obviously,” said Kim, the analyst. Business Insider