Monday, September 27, 2010

Pyongyang intrigue

With the DPRK's grand party congress convening tomorrow, there have been a lot of articles talking about what is expected to happen (i.e., the coronation of Kim Jong-un), why the congress was delayed (e.g., opposition to the coronation of yet another Kim), and what it all means (i.e., we have no frickin' idea, but we must pretend otherwise). So in that spirit, here are some articles and their highlights (i.e., what I consider the take-home message).
  • Here's a Reuters factbox on Kim Jong-un, talking about all the stuff we only guess is true.
  • Here's Yonhap's take, which includes speculation that it won't be Kim Jong-il's son who is anointed leader, but rather Kim Jong-il's sister, Kim Kyŏnghŭi, who is the wife of Jang Songthaek (chang sŏngt'aek), who many assume will be Kim Jong-un's regent.
  • In this Korea Times piece, it's suggested that if Kim Jong-un has a low profile at the congress, it's "a bad sign," as it means that there was sufficient opposition to his rise to power, which is a sure sign of instability up north.
  • AFP goes on about Kim Jong-nam's (Kim Jong-il's oldest son) "pampered life" in Macau.
  • My favorite among these articles is this one from the Telegraph, talking about the power struggle up north, saying straight out that factional infighting has occurred up north, with the hardline group headed by the aforementioned Jang going head to head with reformers who would like to see the economy head down the Chinese path. This would explain what I have predicted, based on KCNA reports, that North Korea is getting ready to announce Chinese-style reforms. By the way, here's a 2009 Newsweek piece talking about how to topple KJI, which declares that the Dear Leader will never allow Chinese-style reforms because it would mean the end of Pyongyang's control.
I'm still holding out the possibility that Kim Sŏlsong, Kim Jong-il's daughter, may be the chosen one.

Kim Jong-un and Kim Jong-il's sister have both been named generals

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