New kid on the block
Posted by ampontan on Monday, September 27, 2010
EAST ASIA is already one happening place, but excitement in the neighborhood will climb to breathtaking heights tomorrow when the North Korea Workers’ Party holds its third party conference and the first since 1966 to “single-mindedly unite around the headquarters of the revolution headed by Kim Jong-il” and elect its supreme leadership body. The Rodong Sinmun promises that it “will shine as a notable event in the history of the sacred Workers’ Party.”
One of the elect few is expected to be Kim Jong-un, number three son of the world’s most powerful otaku, Kim Jong-il, as he officially begins preparing to assume the leadership role in the Kim Family Regime.
Then again, nobody outside of the ruling circle knows for sure. As this article in Britain’s Telegraph states:
So secretive are the machinations in Pyongyang that many analysts believe Kim Jong-un’s new role will not even be formally announced at the meeting.
That means veteran North Korean watchers will keep their eyes peeled for an appearance of the CNC code!
Such is the level of paranoia within the ruling elite that his name has never even been officially mentioned as a potential successor. But state-sanctioned poems and songs have been released, praising without name, “the young general”, and dwelling on the importance of “footsteps” – a metaphor for the familial transfer of power.
One reason for the secrecy is that there seems to be a limit to what even the North Korean population will put up with:
(R)are signs of public discontent are emerging from North Korea over news of the likely dynastic succession. Recent defectors and exile media organizations such as Free North Korea Radio and the Daily NK describe growing dismay and alarm within the ranks of the Workers’ party and security forces as the name of Kim Jong-un has been gradually rolled out.
The reports are fuelling fears that the country and its nuclear arsenal will be engulfed by a dangerous power struggle by rival regime factions, some of whom want to introduce Chinese-style political reforms.
The question is whether the 27-year-old Kim III will be able to ride the tiger or be eaten by it. Very little is known about him, but the Telegraph does quote a few stories from friends of the Heir Presumptive when he studied at private schools in Switzerland from 1995 to 1998.
By their accounts, he seems to have been a typical teenager—he enjoyed playing computer games, following American basketball and the career of Michael Jordan, watching Jackie Chan and James Bond movies, and barking at the embassy staff for serving cold spaghetti.
Befitting a boy filled with patriotic devotion and intense loyalty to the party, his friends said one of his favorite songs was Aegukka (The Patriotic Song), the North Korean national anthem.
Now you can enjoy the song too! Here’s a stirring rendition of the anthem from North Korean television with English subtitles. Note the street scene at the 1:45 mark. The Japanese aren’t the only people in this part of the world who love cherry blossoms.
The mountain shown in the video, by the way, is Mt. Baekdu, a sacred site for all Koreans because they believe it’s the site of the tribe’s origin. The Pyeongyang propagandists also like to pretend it’s Kim Jong-il’s birthplace.
But that’s just another Joseon myth. In fact, it really belongs to China and is temporarily in the possession of one of the minor domains on the fringes of the flower in the center of the world. Besides, the Chinese have already bitten off half. How much longer before they swallow the rest?
UPDATE: The KFR decided to make it official, as Kim III was one of several people promoted to the position of general. He’s already gotten gloriously rich, as several reports indicate. If he has the perquisites of his father, he gets to shoot people who displease him (or ship them off to concentration camps), drink the world’s finest liquor, and tool around in expensive automobiles. He’s also just 27 years old.
Some people have all the luck!
Thanks to CB for the Telegraph link.