Idolization of Kim Jong Eun Began in January 2009

Lee Young Hwa, president of the Rescue the North Korean People! Urgent Action Network, held a press conference in Japan on Thursday to explain the North Korean successor selection process. At the press conference, Lee claimed that Jang Sung Taek had met all three of Kim Jong Il’s sons, Jong Nam, Jong Cheol and Jong Eun, before the final decision was made as to who would be Kim Jong Il’s sucessor.

Lee claims that Jong Eun was decided upon in mid-January 2009. Shortly before this, Jang Sung Taek, per Kim Jong Il’s instructions, had conducted interviews with the three sons in Pyongyan and, during this process, selected Jong Eun as successor after the elder two sons both turned down successorship.

“After Kim Jong Eun was chosen as successor, steps were taken to begin glorifying him,” Lee said. “The first such step occurred at an onsite inspection of Wonsan by Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Eun on April 26, 2009. During the inspection, Kim Jong Il summoned the Wonsan party cadres to ask them to look after his son, which was the first time he had spoken publicly of Jong Eun as his successor.”

Lee also claimed that city maintenance operations began in Wonsan after Kim Jong Il instructed that “Wonsan be designated Kim Jong Eun’s second hometown.”

Lee provided some background for this order, noting that, “Since Wonsan is the port city where Ko Young Hee (Kim Jong Eun’s mother) entered the North during the Homecoming Project, this was a way of idolizing Ko Young Hee.”

Attempts to glorify Ko Young Hee began in early 2000, but were suspended after she died while staying in Paris in 2004. Kim Jong Il’s instructions at Wonsan in 2009 marked a reopening of those efforts. Kim Jong Eun’s actual hometown is known to be somewhere in Pyongyang.

Along with this, Lee explained that the authorities have been systematically finetuning materials for use in glorifying Kim Jong Eun, trying to dig up evidence of his “revolutionary past,” since July 2009. The greatest sign of this to date was when the authorities ordered all North Koreans named Jong Eun to change their name in August 2009.

Another source from within RENK stated, “They have built the house Kim Jong Eun was supposedly born in at Hyangmok-ri in Pyongyang’s Gangdong, which is where Kim Jong Il’s holiday villa is located.”

“The area is surrounded by barbed-wire fencing so that no one can get in, and the army is standing guard,” the source continued. He also noted, “It appears as though the house was actually completed in March this year,” and added that, “Normal citizens are not allowed anywhere near it, but they are beginning tours for cadres to see it.”

In addition, according to Lee Young Hwa, idolization of Kim Jong Eun has also recently begun within the General Association of North Korean Residents in Japan. Kim Jong Eun was referred to by name for the first time at the second meeting of the association’s 22nd central standing committee, by chief vice-chairman Ho Jong Man. Ho is reported to have said that the association would revere Kim Jong Eun in the same way it has Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung.