Kim celebrates his 40th birthday The beaming North Korean dictator

Kim celebrates his 40th birthday: The beaming North Korean dictator shows his 10-year-old daughter Ju Ae, the alleged heir to the throne, around a huge new chicken farm – while state media avoids mentioning his milestone birthday

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un celebrated what is believed to be his 40th birthday by taking his daughter to a massive new chicken farm. According to reports, the young man was chosen as his successor.

Kim Ju Ae, believed to be around 10 years old and the middle of Kim's three children, accompanied her father and senior regime officials to tour the newly opened “model” chicken farm in the DPRK.

The despot's birthday is believed to be January 8 – although his secretive regime has never confirmed the date and state media has not mentioned it.

Evidence that he has chosen his heir to the throne in Ju Ae may indicate that Kim is accepting his mortality in the face of a series of health problems. Experts believe he could “collapse” at any time due to his increasing weight.

It is believed that he is now training Ju Ae to take over the leadership of the Hermit Kingdom. The little girl is regularly referred to as Kim's “favorite” child by state media and has been the subject of North Korean propaganda for a year since her first appearance.

The father-daughter duo kissed each other on the cheek as they celebrated New Year's Eve in a packed stadium in Pyongyang before touring a rocket launcher factory in matching jackets last week.

Kim Jong Un beamed as he toured the Kwangchon chicken farm with his daughter Ju Ae

Kim and his daughter check out the produce at the chicken farm in pictures released to mark his 40th birthday

Kim and his daughter check out the produce at the chicken farm in pictures released to mark his 40th birthday

The father and daughter observed workers handling chicken carcasses while visiting the farm

The father and daughter observed workers handling chicken carcasses while visiting the farm

The dictator and his child were given a tour of the Kwangchon chicken farm south of the capital on Sunday.

Pictures released today show them donning white coats as they inspect rows of chickens in cages, before donning their trademark black jackets again as they inspect the produce outside.

Kim was said to be pleased with the “modern” production lines at the facility. The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that he described them as “incomparable” to older farms that he had previously described as “backward.”

KCNA reported on the visit and said Kim was “accompanied by his treasured daughter,” which NK News said was the second time state media had used a separate line to describe her presence and attached the honorary title.

State media used the same wording for Kim Jong Un in reports that he joined his father Kim Jong Il on official business in 2010 and 2011 after he was officially elected to succeed the former prime minister.

Now there is increasing speculation that Ju Ae is ready to take over the leadership from her father. South Korea's National Intelligence Service (NIS) said on Friday that it sees her as his likely successor.

Cheong Seong-Chang, an analyst at the private Sejong Institute in South Korea, said Kim likely believes his daughter has the ability and determination to succeed him as a leader.

He said Kim Jong Un's obesity appears to be so serious that “even if he collapses tomorrow, it won't be a surprise.”

“By accompanying her father to major events, it is as if she is learning royalty and building a human network at a young age,” Cheong said.

The young girl was surrounded by officers as she accompanied her father on their last public appearance together

The young girl was surrounded by officers as she accompanied her father on their last public appearance together

The Kwangchon Chicken Farm is located near Pyongyang, North Korea.  The facility was reportedly described as a “model farm” by Kim Jong Un

The Kwangchon Chicken Farm is located near Pyongyang, North Korea. The facility was reportedly described as a “model farm” by Kim Jong Un

Kim Jong Un is satisfied with the “modern” production lines at the factory south of Pyongyang

Kim Jong Un is satisfied with the “modern” production lines at the factory south of Pyongyang

Ju Ae was first introduced to the world in November 2022 when she attended a rocket launch with her father.

The young girl was seen arm in arm with Kim as he inspected the weapons at a military base and watched the launch from a distance along with her father and mother Ri Sol-ju.

Ju Ae made several appearances at official meetings alongside her father throughout 2023, and also performed at military bases and factories.

During a particularly unusual family outing in December, the couple was photographed watching North Korea announce the launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Pictures released this week show the young girl inspecting a key military vehicle production facility. She wears a black leather jacket with fur trim, like those worn by her father and high-ranking regime officials.

Kim Jong Un inspected a key military vehicle production facility with his daughter Ju Ae last week

Kim Jong Un inspected a key military vehicle production facility with his daughter Ju Ae last week

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, his daughter and an official watch what is said to be an intercontinental ballistic missile launching from an undisclosed location in North Korea in an image released in December

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, his daughter and an official watch what is said to be an intercontinental ballistic missile launching from an undisclosed location in North Korea in an image released in December

She then took center stage as Kim celebrated New Year's Eve by watching an arts group perform at Pyongyang's massive May Day Stadium, according to state media reports.

The venue is located in Pyongyang and is considered the largest in the world, with a capacity of up to 150,000 spectators.

Footage from state broadcaster KCTV shows cheering crowds as they greeted Kim and his family. Ju Ae held her father's arm as she walked to her seat, and her mother clapped and smiled next to her.

Kim responded to the roaring crowd by waving and was seen kissing Ju Ae once on the cheek, returning the show of affection.

The performance marked the start of the new year, state-run KCNA reported, with the “ceremonial ringing of the bells… at 12:00 a.m. on January 1, the lighting of the torch in celebration and the setting off of fireworks” in the sky of the capital .

“At the end of the performance there were loud shouts of 'Hurray!' “For Kim Jong Un, the venue rocked again and fireworks were set off,” a narrator says of footage showing performers waving North Korean flags in celebration.

Since its founding in 1948, North Korea has been ruled by male members of the Kim family, meaning Ju Ae would be the first female leader.

South Korean spies have previously said that Kim's eldest child, currently estimated to be around 12, is a boy – although nothing else is known about him and he has never been seen in public.

The youngest child is probably a daughter born around March 2017. North Korea has not confirmed whether Ju Ae has any siblings.

Kim Ju-ae, daughter of Kim Jong-un (pictured together in November 2022), is likely to be seen as the heir to the North Korean dictatorship, experts say

Kim Ju-ae, daughter of Kim Jong-un (pictured together in November 2022), is likely to be seen as the heir to the North Korean dictatorship, experts say

Kim Ju Ae has been pictured next to her father and North Korea's weapons arsenal numerous times since her first appearance in November 2022

Kim Ju Ae has been pictured next to her father and North Korea's weapons arsenal numerous times since her first appearance in November 2022

Cheong said it is not unusual for North Korean leaders to choose their heirs at a young age based on what they believe demonstrates the greatest leadership qualities.

However, questions still remain about Ju Ae's position within the line of succession, known in North Korea as the Mount Paektu bloodline.

She could face competition from her aunt Kim Yo Jong, considered an emotionless and shrewd analyst and spokesperson for the North Korean leader and dubbed the “Red Princess.”

Kim Jong-il did not announce the existence of his own successor – Kim Jong-un – until very late in his reign, when his health was visibly poor.

Kim Jong-un has experienced health problems in recent years, including rumors that he died back in 2020. However, these have largely evaporated in recent months as he has again appeared regularly in the state media.

Kim Yo Jong is considered an emotionless and shrewd analyst and spokesman for the North Korean leader and is referred to as the “Red Princess.”

Kim Yo Jong is considered an emotionless and shrewd analyst and spokesman for the North Korean leader and is referred to as the “Red Princess.”

The NIS and South Korean officials have previously warned that it is too early to consider Ju Ae as her father's heir, given Kim's relatively young age.

The US government lists Kim's birth year as 1984, making him 40 this year.

The birth dates of Kim's father and grandfather, who preceded him as ruler, are national holidays in the authoritarian state.

Kim Jong-un's supposed birth date, meanwhile, has always passed quietly, with no mention in the media or the country's calendar.

The closest North Korea came to confirming the date was in January 2020, after authorities confirmed that Kim had received birthday greetings from then-US President Donald Trump, but did not give the exact date.