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Kim Jong Il Bans Succession Talks

Posted January. 05, 2007 07:18,   

한국어

According to a Mainichi Shimbun report on January 4 datelined Beijing, North Korea’s Chairman of the National Defense Commission Kim Jong Il has banned discussions in Pyongyang’s leadership concerning his successor, expressing his will to continue exercising real power as the prime leader for the long term.

The report stated that late in October last year, right after the nuclear test, he proclaimed in front of the executives of the Workers’ Party of Korea that “I can still work for a long time as the top leader. Even in my 80s or 90s, I still can (rule).”

Mainichi Shimbun quoted an authority close to the Pyongyang regime who said that the executive members have interpreted Kim’s words that he intends to stay in the frontline of decision-making for the next 15 years and wants nobody to talk about succession. The source commented that such discussions have totally disappeared afterwards.

His successor has been considered to be one of his three sons: Jong Nam (35) born from his relationship with the film actress Song Hye Rim (died May 2002), and Jong Chul (26) and Jong Woon, born from his relationship with Ko Young Hee (opinions exist that she died too in June 2006). Kim Jong Il’s brother-in-law Jang Sung Taek, the First Vice Director in Organization & the Capital Development Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, has also been rumored as one of the likely candidates.

Meanwhile, the newspaper reported that in late November last year, Kim Jong Il issued orders to cancel celebration events on his own birthday (February 16) and only to commemorate his father Kim Il Sung’s (April 15).



iam@donga.com