According to Radio Free Asia, North Korean authorities are requiring women named “Ju Ae” to change their name, which is the same as Kim Jong Un’s daughter. Two anonymous sources from Jeongju City and Pyongsong City reported that the Ministry of Security has ordered women with that name to register for new birth certificates. One of these residents stated that the Ministry of Security summoned women registered under the name “Ju Ae” to a Ministry of Safety office to change their name.
I recently heard news of a 12-year-old girl in their local community named Ju Ae who was reportedly requested to go to the Ministry of Safety in order to amend her birth certificate as indicated by Radio Free Asia.
Kim Ju Ae, estimated to be 10 years old, is the only one of Kim’s three children to be revealed to the public. She was recently seen attending a state banquet and taking photos with North Korea’s top generals. In recognition of her family’s role of “the highest dignity,” her name has been reserved by the authorities.
The focus put on Kim’s daughter has generated questions as to whether she is being groomed to take on her father’s position.
In 2014, Kim Jong Un issued a directive for individuals with his name to legally alter their birth certificates – though it has been noted that few things in North Korea are truly voluntary. This latest name ban is not out of the ordinary for North Korea. While it is too early to tell what the future holds for Kim’s daughter, it is clear that he wants her to be seen.
The regime has not yet verified that the girl is selected for succession and state media also has not begun the general practice of endorsing and praising the chosen successor, she said.
Previous dictators in North Korea had a tradition of bestowing important titles to the heirs apparent. Prior to Kim taking power in late 2011, he was given the rank of a four-star general and was appointed to key party posts. However, Kim may opt to alter this tradition in order to designate and groom his successor. Kim, the analyst, noted that this situation would be more challenging to predict the regime’s behavior.