North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Kim Jong-il Doesn't Like TV Commercials, Either

En coda

Northeast Asia Matters has posted some images and YouTube link of the banned TV commercials.

Original Posting

Cha Sung-su, Chair of the DPRK Radio and Television Broadcasting Committee, was recently sacked from his position.  Yonhap reports that Mr. Cha, the State’s executive manager of its television and radio broadcasts, was dismissed because Kim Jong-il recently tuned into North Korean TV and was watching commercials pitching such things as Taedonggang Beer and ginseng.  According to Yonhap’s source the General-Secretary was “enraged,” reminding him of the early days of China’s economic reforms.  Cha Sung-su had been Chair of the Radio and Television Broadcasting Committee since August 2000, and prior to that Director-General of the General Television Bureau.  He has been involved in the DPRK’s television business since the early 1960’s.  Mr.  Cha seems to be a victim of misunderstanding Kim Jong-il’s characteristically ambiguous instructions.  We can only hope that General-Secretary Kim did not react like Elvis Presley and shoot out the TV.

As a further note, two recent KCTV accounts of Kim Jong-il’s guidance tours were not followed up with the usual hymns before reverting to the standard news broadcast.

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  1. RPL
    November 8, 2009

    Regarding the last bit in your post about the lack of hymns, what do you think it means? Is KJI already dead, and we are only seeing his doubles, or is he still allive and drooling on himself while the various factions fight for control?

    FWIW, I think he’s still alive (barely) and likely incoherent. As the old Chinese saying goes, may you live in interesting times.

    • nkleadershipwatch
      November 8, 2009

      The only reason that springs to mind are technical difficulties/limitations, as the hymns were restored for subsequent guidance tours. These are news broadcasts earmarked for an external/foreign audience, so it is anybody’s guess what is going on. Some of these blips in the DPRK’s media sources may relate to the country’s own contingency planning which is said to be rather extensive.

      As to the General-Secretary’s health; Kim Jong-il has enjoyed keeping Pyongyang watchers guessing about his physical and mental health for about twenty years. While it is pretty clear he’s had a stroke, or a series of strokes, he has both the access and means to first-rate medical care, and he is like many people in the Western world advancing in age with multiple health problems. So, perhaps not as frail or infirm as we are led to believe.

      That all said, I think with these guidance tours or public appearances, there is a matter of putting one or two in the can. That is to say, if he does have another serious medical incident or is otherwise physically incapacitated, the North Korean media can broadcast or announce a guidance tour or two in order to give the central powers in the KWP and NDC enough time to implement their contingency plans. Each one rolled out may buy them a little more precious time in order to mitigate perceptions on the ground. If there is some interest among readers, I will do a future posting about the DPRK’s possible contingency planning in the event the General-Secretary is permanently infirm, or has gone to the great guidance tour in the sky.

  2. RPL
    November 8, 2009

    A post about DPRK contingency planning would be of interest to me.

    • adamcathcart
      November 9, 2009

      Please also consider me interested. And one has got to admire the phrase: “… in the event the General-Secretary is permanently infirm, or has gone to the great guidance tour in the sky.”

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This article was written on 08 Nov 2009, and is filled under KCTV, Kim Jong-il, North Korean press.

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