Starting in early 1973, I continued with my philosophy research at Cheolbong-ri rest house near Pyongyang. Cheolbong-ri was a valley not far from a main road, with a reservoir and pine forest on both sides. It was the very first rest house the Party ever built. It only had a few rooms and was quite shabby, but it was a perfect place to write. I had already stayed at the rest house once when the secretaries office was preparing for the 4th Party Congress in 1961. It had quite a history, and there were a number of fruit trees around it including cherry, apricot, apple, pear, plum and chestnut.
While I was there, the power of the Central Committee of the Party was slowly being handed over to Kim Jong Il. Many people were becoming aware that Kim Jong Il was the successor. In North Korea, where pre-modern ideas of ancestry were overwhelming, many people had figured out that Kim Jong Il would be the successor. Thereafter, I noted a big increase in the degree of flattery towards him.
Some people were under the impression that first generation revolutionaries who had pursued the anti-Japan guerilla struggle alongside Kim Il Sung had picked Kim Jong Il as the successor, but that was not true. There was no-one among them who could suggest a successor. Even if there were someone, it would have been impossible had Kim Il Sung showed even a small sign of objection.
Indeed, the succession became possible because the totalitarian dictatorship had become firm and prolonged. In other words, since Kim Il Sung lacked a modern sense of politics and was steeped in pre-modern thinking, he came up with the absurd idea of handing the country over to his son. In addition, Kim Jong Il himself was ambitious to succeed his father and made every effort to do so.
In February of 1974, Kim Il Sung criticized brother Kim Young Ju at a party conference for not being motivated and not helping him. No one could say anything against his opinion; Kim Young Ju was downgraded to vice prime minister.
As far as I was concerned, Kim Young Ju was an intelligent and hard-working person. He had a good understanding of western life thanks to his studies in Russia. In this respect, he was better than Kim Il Sung, and Kim Jong Il couldn't even compete. However, he was not able to beat Kim Jong Il, who was both cunning and merciless.
Propaganda Secretary Kim Do Man and International Secretary Park Yong Guk were Kim Young Ju's two wings. They had all studied in Russia, all opposed extreme leftist trends and were not fond of the cult of personality. Kim Young Ju used to say that he trusted them with his life. However, he failed to protect them in the end, and when the two were removed, Kim Young Ju's foundations were critically weakened.
Kim Jong Il still felt uncomfortable about Kim Young Ju being the vice prime minister, though, so, one day, he sent Kim Young Ju to Jagang Province and placed him under house arrest. In 1993, 18 years later, Kim Il Sung decided to bring Kim Young Ju back to Pyongyang and appointed him vice premier, but it was just for the sake of form. This was because he knew that his own reputation was at stake for the way that he had handled the situation, and also knew Kim Young Ju would not be able to compete anyway. In any case, Kim Young Ju's situation was similar to house arrest; he was completely excluded from work.
I heard that coming back to Pyongyang, Kim Young Ju said something like this;
"I can support my brother, but not Jong Il. It was Hwang Jang Yop who ruined him."
Kim Young Ju was ignorant as to the reality, to the point of claiming that I was the one who had ruined Kim Jong Il. I remember Kim Il Sung saying, "Young Ju's weakness is that he doesn’t have dogged resolve. On the other hand, it is one of Jong Il's strengths that he's stronger than his uncle."