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N. Korea bans citizens from having same name as Kim Jong-un’s daughter

People watch a television screen showing a news broadcast with an image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (L) and his daughter presumed to be named Ju-ae (R) attending a military parade held in Pyongyang to mark the 75th founding anniversary of its armed forces, at Yongsan railway station in Seoul.
Kim Jae-Hwan/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

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    North Korean authorities are requiring people with the same name as Kim Jong-un’s daughter, Ju-ae, to change their names as it is now reserved for those of “the highest dignity.”

    On Wednesday, the Ministry of Security in Chongju, a city in North Pyongan province, gathered citizens with the name “Ju-ae” and ordered them to change their names, a resident from the city told Radio Free Asia on Thursday. 

    A source from South Pyongan province also told the news agency that people were given one week to change their name. 

    Authorities told the parents of a 12-year-old girl in Chongju that her birth certificate must be changed, as the name is now reserved for people of “the highest dignity,” the source added.

    The country has prohibited people from having the same names as North Korean leaders since the era of its founder, Kim Il-sung. 

    Both he and his son, Kim Jong-il, had their names banned from use among the public during their time in power. When Kim Jong-un became the new leader, his and his wife’s name, Sol-ju, were also banned.

    The name bans are part of North Korea’s effort to push the public to idolize and respect its leaders. 

    Ju-ae, who is believed to be between 10 and 12 years old, was revealed to the public for the first time in November 2022. 

    Kim Jong-un attended a launch of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile with Ju-ae, where images were taken of the two walking near the large missile. 

    “To introduce his daughter to the world at this juncture could be designed to send an international message that the North Korean regime is here to stay,” Soo Kim, a former CIA analyst told the AFP news agency after Ju-ae’s introduction. 

    She made another public appearance on Tuesday at a military banquet to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Korean People’s Army, where she was photographed alongside her father and North Korea’s top generals. 

    Although it has not been confirmed that Ju-ae is being prepared for future leadership, questions and theories have been on the rise following her recent public appearances. 

    While some believe that Kim’s health issues may be leading him to consider his daughter as his successor others are questioning the chances of North Korea welcoming a female leader.

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