Monday, January 24, 2011

A charter paving the way for Kim Jong-un?

Anyone who visits my blog knows that I am highly skeptical of how much of a done-deal the ascension of Kim Jong-un is, despite the South Korean, Japanese, and Western media's general acceptance of it as future fact. (And just so we're clear, I think the real story is the one they're missing: the Manchurianization of North Korea).

But as contrarian as I am, I am also honest, and if I see something that contradicts my viewpoint, I am happy, even to the point of ecstatic, to review it. So when Voice of America says they have in their hot little hands the charter that maps out Kim Jong-un's rise to the top of the heap, I sit up and take notice:
North Korea has revised the charter of its only political party, apparently to ensure a smooth transition of power from father to son in the reclusive communist state. VOA correspondent Steve Herman has obtained a copy of the document, which has not been made public in or outside North Korea.

North Korea experts say the revised Korea Workers Party charter (PDF), obtained by VOA, appears to create the framework for ruler Kim Jong Il to be succeeded by his son, Kim Jong Un.

The charter revision is dated September 28th last year, which was when party representatives met in Pyongyang. The following day the state-run news agency announced the charter had been revised to strengthen the party’s leadership and enhance its role in the army.

But specifics were not revealed, nor has the new charter been publicly issued.
Specialists on North Korea, including some in the intelligence community, who have seen the copy of the revised charter, say they have no reason to doubt its authenticity.

Government officials and academic analysts in Seoul say one of the changes to the charter allows the head of the party to also run the Central Military Commission, ensuring that one person is able to control all military and state affairs. Kim Jong Un, who is in his late 20’s, co-chairs the commission along with 68-year-old Army Chief of Staff, Vice Marshall Ri Yong Ho.

Cheong Seong-chang is a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute, which studies South Korean defense and foreign affairs policy. He says the change means Kim Jong Un will have full authority to control the military and the country should his father suddenly die.
For those of you who read Korean (and full disclosure: it would take me an entire afternoon to slog through this document), the PDF is right here. I'll see if I can get my Kindle to read it.

Now the obvious questions are: What does this mean? Is it the real deal? If it is real, has anything changed since it was issued? Has it ever been implemented or was it merely a draft? Who knows about it? Is it possible this "unreleased" document was leaked so that the North Korean security apparatus, ahem, could see where they need to plug things up?

In my theory whereby the Young General is the Kim Who Wasn't There, there is still room for Kim Jong-il to try to get his son to succeed him, and this may genuinely be a document meant to do that. But then we have to ask ourselves: Is he really in a position at this point to ram that through?

Finally, I leave you with this. Go to the KCNA site and look at the dates for the news (English here, Korean here). Go on, I'll wait. I've got last week's Community in my Hulu queue and I'm willing to wait. Okay, do you notice anything different from the official North Korean news site and the supposed North Korean super secret government charter document?

That's right, kiddies, the VOA document is missing the Juche date (주체 100년), while the English and Korean news sites include both the Gregorian calendar date (2011년) and the Juche date. That's quite an oversight on the part of whomever is trying to ensure that Fat Boy's Kin is going to rise like cream to the top.

But what do I know? I still think Kim Jong-il might be around until at least the middle of this decade.

1 comment:

  1. "North Korean leader Kim Jong-il never wanted a dynastic succession but had no other option to stabilise the troubled regime, his eldest son has said."


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