End Draws Near for the Succession Procession

The Chosun Workers’ Party has revealed that its 4th Delegates’ Conference is to be held in Pyongyang on the 11th, two days before the Supreme People’s Assembly in the same “revolutionary capital” on the 13th. It seems likely based on the current situation that Kim Jong Eun will succeed to the position of Party General-Secretary and then go on to become head of state through these consecutive Party and state events.

Therefore, international eyes will repeatedly turn towards North Korea during April, with the Delegates’ Conference on the 11th followed by the SPA on the 13th and the 100th anniversary of Kim Il Sung’s birth on the 15th, all falling during a period which is set to see the launch of ‘Gwangmyungsung-3’ as well. We can realistically assert that the succession of Kim Jong Eun will be complete by mid-month.

It has only been a year and seven months since the 3rd Party Delegates’ Conference on September 28th, 2010. Then, Kim Jong Eun was made Party Central Military Commission vice-chair, the main official appointment at an event convened to set the scene for his succession. It is a process that lends weight to the presumption that this time around Kim is going to take the reins of the Party general-secretaryship.

Kim Jong Il was handed the same Party position in 1997, though not via a large Party gathering such as this. He became state leader a year later via the convoluted process of abolishing the premiership and elevating the National Defense Commission to the role of leading state institution.

On the latest developments, Cheong Seong Chang of the Sejong Institute commented to Daily NK today, “In a socialist system, the Party leader concurrently holds the top state post. Because of this, Kim Jong Eun will first be raised to the leading job in the Party, the general-secretary, then to the top state job via the SPA. It’s a natural progression.”

Alluding to the possibility of the NDC being abolished in honor of Kim Jong Il, he went on, “We’ll have to wait and see whether Kim Jong Eun succeeds to the top state role of NDC chairman or to a new and different state institution via the SPA.”