(LEAD) N. Korean leader visits barracks with his daughter to mark army founding anniv.
(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with more details; CHANGES photos)
By Kim Soo-yeon
SEOUL, Feb. 8 (Yonhap) -- North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has visited the barracks of the country's general-grade officers together with his daughter to mark the 75th anniversary of the founding of the armed forces, according to state media Wednesday.
In a speech at a banquet Tuesday following his visit, Kim praised the Korean People's Army (KPA) as "the strongest troops in the world," according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).
"For the everlasting peace, prosperity and development on this land, we've developed great and absolute power while enduring so many sufferings and pain," Kim said, apparently pointing to the North's nuclear force.
He did not deliver any direct message on South Korea or the United States. The visit came amid the possibility that North Korea will stage a nighttime military parade Wednesday for the anniversary.
The North's military parade has been closely watched by outside experts seeking to get a glimpse of the North's latest missile programs and other new military equipment.
Photos released by the KCNA on Wednesday showed Kim Jong-un's apparent second child, Ju-ae, sitting between her father and her mother Ri Sol-ju at the banquet table, surrounded by ranking military officers for a photo shoot.
Kim revealed his daughter Ju-ae to the outside world in November 2022, as Pyongyang's state-controlled media released photos showing them attending the test-firing of a Hwasong-17 intercontinental ballistic missile.
The state media called Ju-ae the leader Kim's "respected" daughter, changing its previous manner of naming her as his "beloved" daughter.
Observers said Kim's public activity with his daughter appears to be aimed at sending a message that he will continue to pursue nuclear force to defend the security of the future generation.
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