Posts Tagged ‘Kim dynastic lined up new heir’
Source: The Economist
The will-he-or-won’t-he question regarding the succession of Kim Jong Un to the throne of North Korea, the world’s only communist country to subsist as a brazen monarchy, appears to have been answered. With his promotion to the rank of general, the twenty-something man of mystery is now clearly being queued up to succeed his father, the ailing dictator, Kim Jong Il. Which Kim was, naturally, picked as the heir to the dictatorship established by his own father, Kim Il Sung, in a similar ceremony staged in 1980.
This is the first time the youngest Kim’s name has been publicly mentioned by the North Korean authorities. The first official dispatch from the first day of this year’s much-touted and mysteriously delayed Workers’ Party conference announced the ascent of the young Un, and five others, to high military rank.
One of those others was Kim Kyong Hui, Kim Jong Il’s sister and the wife of Chang Sung Taek, who is widely regarded as being the second-most-powerful man in the country. Mr Chang, on whom Kim Jong Il already relies, is expected to serve in the role of something like a regent to Kim the Youngest. The promotion of Mr Chang’s wife can be interpreted as another intended to contribute to his power, in the same stroke binding him closer to the Kim family and making it likelier that the succession will be executed as planned, in the event of Kim the Elder’s death.
It is notable that Kim Jong Un was given a military title rather than a party position. There has been much speculation of late to the effect that the conference would mark a move away from the “military-first” stance that has marked the Kim Jong Il regime. The fact that he made his son a general however would suggest that he still considers the army to be the primary font of power in this unpredictable nation.
While the announcement will be treated by many as the most important piece of news to come out of the conference, it should be remembered that the conclave has barely even begun. Avid Pyongyangologists will be looking out for other critical appointments, and perhaps even signs of economic reform—in response to China’s ever weightier influence.