Hwang Shrugs off Threats, Criticizes “Traitor” Kim

Responding to recent North Korean threats against him, Hwang Jang Yop asserted in an interview published today, “North Korea insists that I am a traitor, but the real traitor is Kim Jong Il, who has made people starve to death.”

Hwang, the President of the Committee for Democratization of North Korea and a former Secretary of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Party responded to the threats in an interview with Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper.

Hwang was branded “an ugly traitor” who “will never be safe” in an article carried by North Korean propaganda outlet “Uriminzokkiri” on Monday.

In the interview, Hwang also spoke pessimistically on a number of issues, none more so than denuclearization, of which he said there was “zero” possibility, predicting, however, that, “Although the North threatens others as if it is going to start a war right now, it will not use nuclear weapons. They are just a tool for maintaining the North’s system.”

With regards to the North Korean economy, he said critically, “20 percent of the entire budget of North Korea is for the Party, 50 percent is the military budget, and the rest, the other 30 percent, is for people’s lives. Therefore, the most painful sector is people’s daily lives.”

Another Japanese daily released today, Sankei Shimbun reported some of Hwang’s other comments, notably, “The military will be unable to launch a coup even after Kim’s death, because Kim generally promotes those who are dull witted and naïve so that they can better be brainwashed.”

“Kim Jong Il has frequently stated that he has trouble carrying out his work,” Hwang is quoted as saying, “But I don’t believe there is any opposition in the military.” Instead, Kim’s words, he added, were designed to incite enmity between Party and military officials.

In reality, Kim controls the power balance between the Party and military using the Guidance Department under the Secretariat. The main job of the Guidance Department is to control and monitor other departments’ business. Even the personnel management for high level military officials is the direct responsibility of the Cadres Office under the Guidance Department.