View Full Version : Int'l Issues North Korea's Commucon 2010: Do you have your tickets?

09-05-2010, 01:16 AM

N. Korea's leader set to begin power shift to son, experts say

By Chico Harlan (http://projects.washingtonpost.com/staff/articles/chico+harlan/)
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, September 5, 2010

TOKYO - North Korean leader Kim Jong Il will probably use an upcoming meeting of party elites to introduce his heir apparent, initiating the Stalinist dictatorship's second hereditary power transfer, U.S. and South Korean experts and officials say.

Kim's youngest son, Kim Jong Eun, is widely expected to be given at least one high-level leadership position - the first step to claiming absolute power on a par with his father's.

Experts differ on whether the younger Kim's rise will be publicly heralded. But in any case, moves made in coming days could lend the first real insight into Kim Jong Il's strategy for maintaining his family's power as his country deals with a frail economy, severe food shortages (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/18/AR2010061802837.html) and international pressure to denuclearize.

North Korea has not announced dates for the party delegates meeting in Pyongyang, a rare forum reserved for landmark decision-making. Good Friends, a Seoul-based humanitarian group with ties to the North, said the forum would begin Saturday. Other experts predicted it would open Monday, with Kim Jong Eun being promoted on the final day. North Korea celebrates the anniversary of its founding Thursday.

Observers say that the elder Kim, who suffered a stroke in 2008, is rushing the power transfer because of health problems. Kim Jong Eun is thought to be in his mid- or late 20s.

"This conference would be an opportunity to lay the foundation of the post-Kim Jong Il era," said Kim Heung-kyu, a professor at Sungshin Women's University in Seoul.

North Korea held similar delegates' conferences in 1958 and 1966. Such meetings provide latitude for juggling the hierarchy, revising the constitution and adjusting the balance of power between the military and Workers' Party. Many North Korea analysts in Seoul and Washington predict that Kim Jong Il will attempt either to rebuild power in the Workers' Party, which has lost influence to the military and seen its membership decline, or dilute power in the military. Either way, Kim wants a system where elites on both sides check each other.

The Workers' Party is supposed to hold a congress session every five years, but it has not met since 1980, when Kim took power from his father behind the scenes.

"The conference will be a chance for the party to recover its power," said Park Hyeong-jung, a researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification. "The appointment of the officials can give us an idea about how North Korea will run the nation."

In recent days, North Korea has escalated its rhetoric about the "rising generation," though Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency has not mentioned Kim Jong Eun by name. During last week's trip to China - North Korea's primary benefactor - Kim Jong Il took part in an evening ceremony at the Nanhu State Guesthouse in Changchun City, according to the KCNA. The agency listed at least 24 Chinese and Korean officials who attended, including Jang Song Taek, Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law, who is expected to act as a regent for the power transfer, and Chinese President Hu Jintao.

According to a transcript of Kim's speech that night, published by the KCNA, Kim said that given the "complicated" international situation, "it is our important historical mission to hand over to the rising generation the baton of the traditional friendship."

A subsequent 2,860-word account of the trip, also published by the KCNA, made three references to China-North Korea relations as one "generation is replaced by another."

09-10-2010, 08:49 PM

Party strings attached to North Korean successor Kim Jong-un
Rick Wallace, Tokyo correspondent
From: <cite>The Australian (http://www.theaustralian.com.au/) </cite>September 11, 2010 12:00AM

AS the world waits for Kim Jong-il to anoint his successor as North Korean leader - an announcement is tipped to emerge today -- a leading academic says the dictator's youngest son will be a "rubber stamp" for party powerbrokers during his first few years as leader.

Andrei Lankov, a Russian who studied in Pyongyang and now teaches at Kookmin University in Seoul, said Kim Jong-un would not assume the leadership until his father's death and would be immediately vulnerable to manipulation from the old guard.

Professor Lankov, a former Australian National University academic who studied North Korea for 25 years, said the key figures that surrounded Kim Jong-il would effectively run the country, with the young leader dependent on them for guidance.

"For the first few years, these people will try to stay in control," he told The Australian.

Professor Lankov said Kim Jong-il's brother-in-law Jang Song-thaek "seemed to be best positioned to become prince regent" to the mysterious Kim Jong-un.

The young heir-apparent is thought to be between 26 and 29 years of age and attended an international school in Switzerland for a time disguised as the son of an embassy employee.

Professor Lankov said while he expected the North's second dynastic succession to be stable in the short term, he said history showed such arrangements - young rulers being controlled from behind the scenes - often came unstuck.

"A new power structure is emerging: a member of the Kim family as essentially a powerless puppet - who will still be the object of hysterical worship - and a collective leadership whose members include the present-day top officials and they will manipulate the successor," Professor Lankov wrote in a column for the Korea Times.

His remarks came as politicians and diplomats throughout the world awaited news on the expected conference of the Korean Workers Party, which was scheduled to be held in the first 11 days of September.

Delegates have reportedly begun assembling in Pyongyang, but there have been no definitive reports that the conference, the first since 1966, was under way.

The regime issued a statement saying the summit would be held before September 11. News flows slowly from within the secretive dictatorship, and it's possible the event began yesterday.

Professor Lankov said if it were not held in the stated period, it would be an indication of serious problems within the hermit nation.

A flurry of international diplomacy erupted in response to the conference and Kim Jong-il's surprise visit to China this month. South Korean leader Lee Myung-bak and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin met this week, agreeing to further efforts to denuclearise North Korea.

The US announced that Stephen Bosworth, special representative for North Korea policy, would travel to Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo next week to follow up his discussions with chief South Korean and Chinese nuclear envoys last week.

The commander of the US Forces Korea, General Walter Sharp, admitted that South Korea and the US had conducted exercises aimed at "stabilizing" North Korea in the event of regime collapse there.

"We are designing our exercises to make sure that both the (South Korean) and US forces are not only able to defend, not only able to attack and kill, but also able to provide humanitarian assistance for the security and stability of the people," he said.

No USFK commander so far has openly mentioned such drills, which experts speculate were included as part of a contingency operation plan the two allies are working out.

While the succession plan in Pyongyang may be closed to being formalized, Professor Lankov said he expected no real reduction in the North Korean leadership's nuclear "brinkmanship".

Additional reporting: agencies

Rain Man
09-11-2010, 11:30 AM
Anyone else having trouble finding a hotel for this?

09-13-2010, 10:17 AM
Anyone else having trouble finding a hotel for this?

It is after all the biggest North Korean event of the year.

09-13-2010, 10:19 AM

Kim Jong-il's Poor Health is Delaying N.Korea Rep. Meeting It seems Kim Jong-il's poor health is the reason for the delay of North Korea's party representative meeting.

The South Korean 24-hour news channel YTN cited a government official in Seoul on Monday who said South Korean officials are aware that Kim's health had worsened after his recent trip to China delaying Pyongyang's Worker's Party conference which was planned for last Monday.

The source added that the North Korean leader's condition is not serious enough to cancel the meeting and the conference would begin in the near future.

It's the first time in 40 years for the representative meeting to be held and it's widely expected that the North's next leader will be announced at the conference.

SEP 13, 2010 <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"><tbody><tr> <td colspan="3">
</td> </tr> <tr> <td colspan="3" class="news04">Reporter : narikim@arirang.co.kr</td></tr></tbody></table>

09-15-2010, 08:16 PM

North Korea Silent on Party Congress Meeting as Deadline Passes

<cite class="byline">By Bomi Lim - Wed Sep 15 23:16:01 GMT 2010

</cite>North Korea may have missed its own deadline to hold the regime’s biggest political gathering in 30 years, fueling speculation the health of leader Kim Jong Il (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Kim%20Jong%20Il&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1&partialfields=-wnnis:NOAVSYND&lr=-lang_ja) is worsening as he prepares to transfer power to his son.

State media had said, without giving any precise dates, the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea would convene a congress in “early September” to elect “its highest leading body.” As the midpoint of the month passed with no mention of a meeting, speculation has increased that it was delayed either because of Kim’s deteriorating health or damages from recent floods.

The congress has raised expectations Kim may seek to legitimize a hereditary succession to his youngest son Kim Jong Un (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Kim%20Jong%20Un&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1&partialfields=-wnnis:NOAVSYND&lr=-lang_ja). The last party meeting in 1980 cemented Kim’s position as successor to his father, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung (http://search.bloomberg.com/search?q=Kim%20Il%20Sung&site=wnews&client=wnews&proxystylesheet=wnews&output=xml_no_dtd&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&filter=p&getfields=wnnis&sort=date:D:S:d1&partialfields=-wnnis:NOAVSYND&lr=-lang_ja).

During a trip to China last month, Kim visited the northern city of Jilin, associated with his father’s anti-colonial activities during the 1930s. The official Korean Central News Agency published articles that glorified the “revolutionary activities” in China against Japanese occupation of the peninsula by Kim Il Sung. Analysts said Kim Jong Il’s China trip, his second this year, was an effort to win his closest ally’s endorsement for the power transfer.

Kim Jong Il’s last public appearance was reported by KCNA on Sept. 12 when he visited a factory in the northern city of Manpho. His son has never been mentioned by the state media.

The party congress was being delayed because Kim hadn’t fully recovered from his five-day trip to China, Seoul-based YTN news channel reported on Sept. 13, citing a South Korean intelligence official it didn’t name. Open Radio for North Korea (http://www.nkradio.org/news/4282), a Seoul group with contacts in the communist country, carried a similar report on Sept. 13.

Delegates to the congress were taking longer to arrive in Pyongyang because roads have been damaged by the floods of the past two months, Good Friends (http://www.goodfriends.or.kr/n_korea/n_korea1.html?sm=v&p_no=8&b_no=11325&page=1), a Seoul-based rights group, reported on its website on Sept. 15.

“The Korean people deeply revere Kim Il Sung as the eternal president,” KCNA reported Sept. 9. The agency published a piece extolling Jilin city as a place where founder Kim “studied progress ideas.”

Little is known outside North Korea about Kim Jong Un, who may be in his late 20s. He attended the International School of Berne in Switzerland, according to media reports, including the Seoul-based Dong-A Ilbo newspaper.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bomi Lim at blim30@bloomberg.net

Rain Man
09-15-2010, 09:10 PM
It'd be kind of cool to have a kingdom handed to you, even if it's a place like North Korea. Hopefully the son is crazy in a good kind of way and starts doing things like building pyramids and holding gladiatorial games and holding big naked festivals.