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Successor of Kim Jong-il, “from the Military” or “Among His Sons”

Successor of Kim Jong-il, “from the Military” or “Among His Sons”

Posted November. 10, 2003 22:49,   


U.S. intelligence agencies are reporting that there is not a high possibility that the Kim Jong-il regime will collapse from inside, and different institutions are offering different predictions on who his successor will be, according to a Washington Post report on November 9.

According to the Washington Post, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) of the Department of Defense is predicting that the successor will likely emerge from the military.

One diplomatic source of the Korean peninsula in Washington D.C. said that Yon Hyung-muk, a former technocrat-turned-leader who was appointed as the premier vice chairman of the National Defense Committee during the second-term guidance division reform, is being discussed for the position on November 9.

The same source explained that Vice Chairman Yon is an authority on Chinese issues and is desired by the Chinese government to be the next leader of North Korea since Yon was born in Yanbian, China and had lived in China until he was in junior high school. In addition, he has also assumed the role of chairman of the Second Economic Committee, responsible for taking care of the entire North Korean munitions manufacturing, and as the governor of the Chaggang province, a strategically important position for the military and munitions.

This source also reported, “If Kim Jong-il is ‘eliminated,’ they want Vice Chairman Yon, an authority on Chinese issues, to take over the regime.”

However, the Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) of the U.S. Department of State is prospecting that there is a high possibility that either one of the leader Kim’s sons, Jong-nam, 32, or Jong-chul, 22, will be the successor saying, “Since both of them are from different mothers, there is tension between the families.” The first son, Jong-nam, is in charge of the information technology (IT) industries that North Korea is promoting on which the country is staking their destiny, whereas the current responsibility of Jong-chul is not known yet.

Hwang Jang-yup, a former secretary of the Labor Party of North Korea, has said that the successor of the leader Kim will not come from the military during a recent visit to the U.S.

Jung-Ahn Kim credo@donga.com