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Second Son of Kim Jong Il Is Heir Apparent

Posted November. 26, 2007 07:45,   


Kim Jong Chul (27), the second son of Kim Jong Il, was appointed assistant vice chief of the Organization and Guidance Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea, one of the major posts in the North Korean government, reported Mainichi Newspapers of Japan on November 24, quoting a Chinese source.

Kim Jong Chul is the elder of Kim’s two sons born between North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and his second wife Ko Young Hee (deceased in 2004). He is half-brother to Kim Jong Nam (36), the eldest son of Kim Jong Il and his first wife Song Hye-rim (deceased in 2002).

According to the Mainichi report, which quoted a number of sources closely related to the North Korean regime, Kim Jong Chul works at the main complex of Central Committee of the Workers` Party where the office of Kim Jong Il is also located, and frequently receives orders from his father.

Based on the fact that the Kim Jong Il also expanded power over the party through political activities in the Organization and Guidance Department in the past, and that no other sons have been appointed to major posts yet, Mainichi analyzed that Kim Jong Chul is the most likely successor to Kim Jong Il.

The Organization and Guidance Department is the core center of the Workers’ Party of Korea, which possesses the authority to select, appoint, and dismiss executives in the party or the government. Actual decisions in the Organization and Guidance Department are all directed by Kim Jong Il, and while there is no official vice chief of this unit, about 10 assistant vice chiefs carry out departmental tasks.

Kim Jong Il himself was appointed as one of the assistant vice chiefs of Organization and Guidance Department at the age of 27 in 1969, and was selected as the official heir to Kim Il Sung five years later in 1974. Pointing out these facts, Mainichi predicted that there is the possibility of Kim Jong Chul being designated as the official successor five years later when Kim Jong Il turns 70.

Kim Jong Chul, who has been known to the outer world only as a person who worked within the Organization and Guidance Department until he was promoted as assistant vice chief, is now known to be backed by first assistant chief Lee Je Gang in performing tasks. First assistant chief Lee is one of the core figures of power who has been closely aiding Kim Jong Il for more than 40 years since Kim’s entrance into the Organization and Guidance Department.

Meanwhile, if it is true that Kim Jong Chul gets promoted to the assistant vice chief of the Organization and Guidance Department as reported by Mainichi, the recent promotion of the party’s former assistance vice chief in charge of capital construction, Chang Sung Taek, the brother-in-law of Kim Jong Il, to the party’s administration director, can take on a different meaning.

Administration Director Chang recovered judiciary and public security authority, which had formerly been dominated by his rival, first assistant chief Lee Je Gang, and also restored his aides, who had been dismissed.

It is highly likely that Kim Jong Il is checking the power of first assistant chief Lee and simultaneously making use of the power possessed by Chang, a family relative, to solve the problem of succession.

Some say that the succession of Kim Jong Chul will be facilitated by the competition for loyalty between the first vice assistant Lee, who is blindly faithful to Kim Jong Il, and Chang, Jong Chul’s uncle.

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