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    North Korean leader Kim visits troops with daughter

    SEOUL, South Korea (AP) North Korean leader Kim Jong-un took his daughter to visit the military to mark the 75th anniversary of its founding, praising the “irresistible force” of his nuclear-armed force and the state-owned military. said the media Wednesday.

    The visit comes ahead of a large military parade that kicks off in the capital Pyongyang on Wednesday night. Chairman Kim Jong Un was expected to present the latest hardware from the rapidly growing nuclear weapons program.

    Two South Korean officials said the parade likely started around 9 p.m. They didn’t give any further details, and it wasn’t immediately clear if Kim would be attending. They are closely monitored by outside governments and experts, as they often include newly developed weapon systems that are being tested.

    In her fourth public appearance, Kim’s daughter Kim Joo-ae, who is believed to be nine or 10 years old, stood by her father as she shook hands with her officials and stood next to her. sat at the table. Analysts say Kim’s decision to bring his daughter to a military-related public event reminds the world that he is not willing to give up nuclear weapons and that nuclear weapons are critical to his survival and survival. The dynastic rule seems to be the strongest guarantee of extended family life.

    State media’s high praise for Kim Joo-ae as “respected” and “loved” also sparked debate over whether she was groomed to follow in her father’s footsteps. In November, she participated in ICBM flight tests and accompanied her father to meetings with military scientists and ballistic missile tests.

    North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said Wednesday that Kim and his daughter visited a Korean People’s Army officer’s quarters. He later gave an encouraging speech to the military at a banquet, praising them for maintaining “the strongest military in the world” despite external difficulties.

    The visit came a day after Kim presided over a meeting with his top military brass and called for an expansion of combat exercises aimed at sharpening war readiness, as he looks to escalate an already provocative run in weapons demonstrations in the face of deepening tensions with his neighbours and Washington.

    Kim during his speech said it was his “greatest honour” and delight to be the supreme commander of an army that is “fulfilling (the) call of the times and history as the strongest army in the world.”

    North Korea is coming off a record-breaking year in weapons testing, and the dozens of missiles it fired in 2022 included potentially nuclear-capable systems designed to strike targets in South Korea and the U.S. mainland.

    Animosity could rise in coming months with Kim doubling down on his nuclear push entering 2023.

    During a major political conference in December, Kim called for an “exponential increase” of the country’s nuclear warheads, mass production of battlefield tactical nukes targeting “enemy” South Korea and the development of more powerful intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the continental United States.

    Aside from developmental tests, North Korea could also dial up its military demonstrations in response to the United States expanding combined military exercises with South Korea, which the allies say are aimed at countering the North’s evolving threat. Last week, North Korea’s foreign ministry condemned U.S. plans to expand joint exercises with South Korea and deploy more sophisticated military assets such as bombers and aircraft, calling the country’s “most overwhelming nuclear force.” warned that it was ready to counter any U.S. military move.

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