Kim Jong Eun Slips Off Radar

A lull in the flow of propagandist education about Kim Jong Eun has been noted by sources.

One such source inside North Korea told The Daily NK on July 16th, “The Party used to continuously point out that the construction project in progress since the beginning of this year ‘was initiated by Youth Captain Kim (Jong Eun)’. However, such comments disappeared in June. ‘Youth Captain Kim’ is not being mentioned, even in political lectures in enterprises and people’s unit meetings.”

The source added, “Neither has ‘Youth Captain Kim’ been mentioned in the two lectures given to the military in July.”

Therefore, the source said, citizens are wondering whether something might have happened at the center. Another rumor has it that the authorities feel unable to advertise him since the national economy is in a mess following the currency redenomination.

People are variously analyzing the situation as, “Youth Captain Kim is too young to come in front of the citizens,” or, “He is not stepping to the front for reasons of personal security,” the source also said.

Citizens are also talking about the ‘historical site’ construction project in progress at Bonghwa-ri in Kangdong, a region northeast of Pyongyang.

Bonghwa-ri is revered as the site of Kim Hyong Jik-Kang Ban Suk’s anti-Japanese revolutionary struggle, and also the location of the “Bonghwa revolutionary historical site,” which commemorates the childhood of Kim Il Sung. However, there has been a further historical site construction project underway at this location since the end of 2008.

The source commented, “Until now, North Korea has referred to this building as a ‘historical site’. Residents in Kangdong understand, though, that this historical site is the ‘birthplace of Youth Captain Kim’ or ‘villa of Youth Captain Kim’.”

“Historical sites for Comrade Kim Hyong Jik, Comrade Kang Ban Suk and our Supreme Leader (Kim Il Sung) already exist in Bonghwa-ri, and the historical site for the General (Kim Jong Il) is on Mt. Baekdu. Therefore, citizens believe that the building must be for Youth Captain Kim,” he added.

The construction of the main building with the center entrance to the historical site and also the building on the right side is allegedly nearing completion. However, construction apparently halted in early June, and the building on the left side has been left incomplete. Currently, a platoon of soldiers guards the construction site on rotation, according to the source.

Yet, the North Korean regime collected between 500 and 2,000 won from each household in Pyongyang for the purpose of replenishing its historical site construction funds at the end of last year, sources report. 100~200 won was also collected from each member of the Union of Democratic Women at the beginning of this year.

Therefore, halting the construction has been a surprise and a substantial spur to rumors for the residents of surrounding areas.

“If it were related to the people’s economy, the construction project being halt due to a lack of money would be common; however, for a historical site construction project to be halted because of economic problems is absurd,” the source said. “In conclusion, it must mean that there is a problem at the center or it is the result of another political decision.”

However, the source was careful to note that Kim Jong Eun education might have been postponed until after the Chosun Workers’ Party Delegates’ Conference in September. The North Korean leadership’s concern may be that if Kim Jong Eun is excessively elevated in advance of receiving a domestic official title, issues of personal security or a power struggle could take place.