North Korea Leadership Watch

Research and Analysis on the DPRK Leadership

Blue House Thinks KJI is Beijing-bound

Yonhap reports that Lee Administration officials are watching for Kim Jong-il to depart for China fairly soon.

Another senior official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said that South Korea has “some intelligence, albeit not decisive.” “There are indications,” he said, citing unusual activities near the Chinese border city of Dandong, North Korea’s border areas, and the Chinese capital of Beijing. He would not elaborate.

North Korea watchers believe the trip may take place as early as this week as Kim will have to return home before the North’s legislature convenes Friday next week.

Officials said an advance team of North Korean officials may already be in China to arrange Kim’s trip there.

Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency reported earlier Wednesday that a North Korean military delegation, led by Maj. Gen. An Yong-gi, held a meeting Tuesday in Beijing with Xu Caihou, a member of the political bureau of the Communist Party and vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of China.

Diplomatic sources said that there have been cases of Kim visiting China about three days after an advance team visited the neighboring nation.

Kim’s trip to China has been anticipated since the beginning of the year as his communist nation suffers from an enduring recession caused by years of international sanctions and embargoes, as well as its recent currency reform, a failed effort that has reportedly led to skyrocketing inflation.

So, perhaps, KJI is busy packing up extra pairs of his Prada sunglasses and some fur hats.  Question is: who is in charge while KJI is away?  This may be Kim Jong-un’s opportunity to sit in the big chair.


This article was written on 31 Mar 2010, and is filled under DPRK External Relations, DPRK-China Relations, Kim Jong-il.

An affiliate of 38 North