Friday, April 3, 2009
Kim Jong-nam shoots his mouth off about North Korea shooting missiles off
If the leader of a pariah state could have a pariah son, what would that make him? Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of Dear Leader Kim Jong-il, is quickly becoming a test subject for that very question.
Given that he likes traveling around the world outside of North Korea and he speaks pretty good English, he is relatively accessible to a global media that wants a glimpse into Mr. Marshall Kim's Wonder Emporium.
And while the 38-year-old KJN may not provide the details of how an entire Olive Garden staff was kidnapped and then assembled in a knock-off Tuscany trattoria along the banks of the Taedong River, he freely speaks his own mind about what the DPRK is up to.
Trailing him through the airports of Beijing and Macao, reporters got him to answer questions about Japan possibly overreacting to the impending missile test disguised as a satellite launch. Japan's Fuji TV reported that KJN believes Japan's reaction (i.e., shooting it down if it poses a threat) is a "justified" form of self-defense.
Whoa, did someone ever not get the memo! (Or at least not read it, not that that's so unusual among ruling elite). The Marmot thinks that this is a clear sign that KJN's
prodigal eldest son is is making it clear "he doesn't even want the job" of Dear Leader-in-training (i.e., "the next guy who regularly gets worshipped at mass games in Pyongyang").
Me, I'm not so sure KJN has "purged himself," as The Marmot put it, despite past indications he may not be interested. Rather, I think KJN may be positioning himself to be a moderate voice that can be turned to by both the West and moderates within the DPRK ruling apparatus or even military who have grown weary of North Korea's sempiternal brinkmanship and perpetual ostracism.
"KJN gets it," I can see some politicos in Seoul, Tokyo, and Washington saying to themselves and each other. "I think we can work with this guy."
Of course, there's a risk that North Korean hard-liners caught up in their own unremitting rancor toward the West would never allow even a hint of an olive branch toward the JUSK triumvirate, which would necessitate the continued quarantining of KJN outside of Pyongyang. But if that's how things go down, I doubt KJN would mind: he still has Disneyland.