Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Secrecy over the Succession of Kim Jong-un

It has been nine months since Kim Jong-un was apparently chosen to succeed North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, but North Korea has yet to issue even a single photo of the younger Kim, the leader's third son, let alone officially announce his selection as successor.

What can be the reason? One high-ranking North Korean official who defected to South Korea said it’s because Kim Jong-il "has not officially recognized the succession." High-ranking sources in North Korea say the selection of a successor by the ruling elite in the months after Kim suffered a stroke in August last year progressed without his approval.

Close confidants, including his younger sister Kyong-hee and her husband Jang Song-taek, the first vice director of the Workers' Party, and Yi Je-kang, the first vice director of the Workers' Party Organization Guidance Department, may have rushed to choose a successor when Kim Jong-Il was ill.

The reasons why they chose the third son Jong-un, ruling out his first and second sons: Jong-un's selection reflected the wishes of the leader, but Kim's affinity to Jong-un does not necessarily mean he wished to appoint him as successor.

The second reason is that the confidants may be worried about their power depending on who becomes the next leader.

One North Korean who defected recently said, "Until June, lectures were held lauding junior leader Kim or a 'young general,' but there was absolutely no mention of the name Kim Jong-un."

Source: Chosun Ilbo

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