Monday, September 13, 2010

What if they threw a Workers' Party and nobody came?

Well, all of us North Korea watchers waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the rare super-sized meeting of the North Korean Workers' Party where Kim Jong-un is expected to be confirmed as his father Kim Jong-il's successor... we may have to wait a little while longer.

Quoting Yonhap Television News (YTN), Reuters is reporting that the Juche jamboree is being delayed because the Dear Leader is not feeling well. I'd quote the one-paragaph article, but I've pretty much paraphrased the whole thing.

And what does this shadowy dearth of information mean? Could it be that there are holdouts in the Pyongyang regime who do not want yet another mollycoddled son of a nepotist to be their leader whose every whim must be catered to lest they lose their lives and have their family members imprisoned?

The Kim Family Tree. This is from about five or six years ago, so the ages of the kids are off. Also, it was released at a time when even the South Korean intelligence community thought that, based on the Kim Jong-un spelling, that the Brilliant Comrade was 김정운 instead of 김정은. Not a real confidence-inspiring move there.

Such a glitch would be the easiest conclusion (well, other than the conclusion that Kim Jong-il is actually sick, but where's the fun in that). But I hold out that there are other possibilities. Could it be that Kim Jong-il himself is having buyer's remorse and would rather turn over the reins of his reign to one of his daughters instead of his incompetent, effeminate, or inexperienced sons?

In that first link above, I had suggested Kim Yŏjŏng [김여정] as a dark horse, but I had forgotten to mention his eldest daughter, Kim Sŏlsong [김설송], in part because I couldn't find a picture of her (at right is an artist's depiction of the relatively tall and long-haired Sŏlsong, based on the scattering of reports on her appearance).

Indeed, if we are to tolerate a de facto monarchy up north, she would be the one I'd want at the helm:
Kim Jong Il’s sole official wife, the now-deceased Kim Yong Suk, born in 1947, failed to deliver any male heirs and gave birth to his only legitimate children recognized by Kim Il Sung – two daughters, including his beloved eldest daughter Kim Seol Song. She was born in 1974, educated inside North Korea, and knows very well traditional values and the North Korean system. She is very sophisticated and can speak fluently several foreign languages, including Russian, English, French, and Spanish. Kim Jong Il asked her to work at the WPK Secretariat, Office 99. She follows him everywhere. She takes part in many of his meetings with foreigners as his personal assistant. Kim Jong Il is said to be very proud of her accomplishments. She seems to follow Russian developments with particular interest. The father and daughter are said to have a genuine psychological connection. Some observers wonder what role Kim Jong Il may have in mind for his daughter during the power transition period, speculating that in case of emergency, Kim Seol Song may become North Korea’s future powerful Queen Min (Minbi), serving as a regent to Kim Jong Il’s younger sons from Ko Young-Hui, should that become necessary one day.
Now that's a Juche-friendly résumé. Sadly, though, she may end up being overlooked because she suffers from a birth defect (her penis is missing).

Christine Kim of the Joongang Daily has a lengthier report on the apparent delay of the meeting.


  1. What also is missing is a pic of rapper Lil Kim! Will you just post it already? along with the phrase, "HERE IS YOUR NEW LEADER!"

    Yeah, good point on the *cough cough* he "called in sick" controversy. But I dunno- isn't it quite possible he is down to his final breath?

  2. Be patient. Depending on how it all goes down, I have to be picky about which pic I choose.

    In all seriousness, though, I think it's possible he could be seriously ill, but I think the Western media has convinced itself that he's in worse shape than he actually is.

    He had a stroke, and many people assume that means you're on your last leg. But the fact of the matter is that he survived a stroke and is walking around, and what that means is that he was strong enough for a physical comeback. In other words, the stroke could mean the exact opposite of what people think it means.

  3. Um, my point in all that is that I think it's more likely that the "not feeling well" excuse is glossing over political intrigue.


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