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Kim Jong Il Vanishes From Public Eye

Posted August. 07, 2006 05:52,   


North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has disappeared from public eye since right after North Korea fired missiles on July 5, and it shows signs that his concealment will be prolonged for the long term.

Ever since his father, former North Korean leader Kim Il Sung, died on July 8 of 1994 he did not miss a single occasion to visit Geumsusan Memorial Palace on the same day every year, but this year, Chairman Kim even skipped this ceremony.

It is seen that Chairman Kim is taking the current situation seriously. There are reports from inside North Korea that they are prepared to go on another “Hardship March.” University of Georgia Professor Park Han-shik who visited Pyongyang after the missile launches described Pyongyang’s grave situation as, “North Korea believes in a possible U.S. invasion, and is preparing for a second Korean War.”

Chairman Kim disappeared for 50 days after North Korea declared its withdrawal from NPT in February 2003, and for 26 days right after the 9.11 attacks of 2001. He has shown a pattern of going into hiding whenever tensions escalate with the U.S.

Why is He Hiding?—

There are mainly two reasons for Chairman Kim’s disappearance. The first reason is a deliberate disappearance from the public in order to observe the worsening situation around North Korea after the missile launches. In other words, sandwiched between the U.S. financial sanctions and the pressure from the international society mounting on top of domestic problems such as massive flooding, he is refraining from making public appearances so he can find a breakthrough to solve the missile issue and at the same time prevent internal turmoil.

There are also speculations that Chairman Kim, who declared the current situation as a national crisis, went into hiding because he felt his life under threat.

In addition, there are cautious speculations on Chairman Kim being sick. There is a theory that Chairman Kim, who has a history of heart disease treatment, had his heart disease recur, while there is another rumor that he is taking medicine because of diabetes and kidney problems.

Grand National Party (GNP) lawmaker Chung Hyung-keun once claimed, “I have intelligence mentioning that during his January visit to Beijing, Chairman Kim secretly visited a medical center inside Beijing’s Space Center to receive treatment.”

When North Korea launched Taepodong missile in 1998, Chairman Kim announced four days later on September 4, “The satellite launch was successful.”

He also attended the first convention of the Supreme People’s Assembly held on the same month, as well as the 50th anniversary ceremony of the North Korean regime, which was held on September 9. It is significantly different from this time.

When Will He Surface?—

Chairman Kim had always attended memorial services held on his father’s date of death. However, since he did not attend this year’s function, it is generally accepted that it will be difficult to see Chairman Kim show up at an official event for the time being.

He has attended the Supreme People’s Assembly occasionally, but since it was held on April 11, it will not be held anytime soon

A South Korean government official commented, “Currently, the highest possibility of him appearing on public, is probably in the form of visiting sites, such as military posts or production lines, but at this point it is difficult to predict.”