North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

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Kim Jong-un

January 8, 2010 may have been a holiday in the DPRK, after all.  In a report about a barter system taking effect among North Korean citizens, a source talking to Daily NK said,“On January 8, people had a day off for Kim Jong Eun’s birthday, but it did not interest them. The succession issue cannot hold people’s interest; they just want everything to be put in order.”

Putting things in order with regard to succession is the point of Cho Myung-chol’s essay in JoongAng Daily.  Mr. Cho is a program director at the Korea Institute for Economic Policy.  He cites the hiccups associated with last year’s currency denomination as the need for Pyongyang to get its sheepdogs together to get the succession flock out:

Needless to say, there are no fundamental conflicts when the people in power are father and son, and the successor is obliged to respect and follow the ideology and ruling methods of earlier generations.

However, the early stage of a transfer of power is the time when the successor shows “creativity” and “distinguished wisdom.” In other words, there could be a difference of opinion.

When there is, the Party Central Commission and National Defense Commission simply become the messengers between the two rulers.

The frequent changes of exchange limit during last year’s currency reform was evidence that the orders of the two rulers are in conflict. The recent statement of the National Defense Commission can also be understood in a similar context.

The question is whether prenegotiations between the National Defense Commission, the highest-ruling body of North Korea, and its subsidiary ruling bodies operate without problems.


This article was written on 21 Jan 2010, and is filled under 2009 Currency Revaluation, Kim Family, Kim Jong-il, Kim Jong-un, leadership succession, succession.

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