Kim Pyong Il hangs on as ‘unwanted branch’

Kim Pyong Il appears fourth from the left rather than front and and center at the 43rd
 ambassadorial conference in Pyongyang. Image: Rodong Sinmun

Former leader Kim Jong Il’s half-brother,
Kim Pyong Il, who serves as the North Korean ambassador to the Czech Republic,
has been under constant surveillance from Party members dispatched with him
inhibiting him from carrying out work as Pyongyang’s top diplomat to the
country. Pyong Il, who recently returned to the North, has until now been
completely cut off from central power, seen as one of the ‘unwanted branches’
by the leadership.

“The North had ordered the Party secretary
to monitor him very closely,” the source close to Pyongyang’s diplomatic
affairs told Daily NK on Thursday. “Up until now, they had put in measures
so that no one would be able to meet Kim Pyong Il while he was on mission as
ambassador to Poland and the Czech Republic. He pretty much was a loner for
some 30 years.”

An additional Daily NK source in China
corroborated this news.

Kim Pyong Il is the paternal half-brother
of late leader Kim Jong Il and was shipped off to Europe after the former
leader was tapped the country’s successor. This came as part of Jong Il’s
campaign to emphasize the pure ‘Baekdu bloodline’ and although Pyong Il may
have been the ambassador he was virtually left without any real power to carry
out regular duties.

 “He didn’t even have access to diplomatic documents,
so he was just like a scarecrow,” according to the source, explaining that 
all duties were
carried out by a Party secretary, and the most Pyong Il did was attend

“They didn’t even let his children hang out with others, so they
were also isolated just like their father,” she said.

As to why Pyong Il would have been invited
back to Pyongyang to attend an ambassadors’ meeting, she pointed out,
“It’s not as if Kim Jong Un has acknowledged him as his uncle. It’s more
like he’s seen as a mere ambassador,” adding that the event may also be used as
a tool for propaganda to highlight the ‘benevolence’ of the younger Kim.

“No one really recognizes Pyong Il’s
existence anymore. He has been overseas for such a long time that people don’t
even know his face,” the source said. “Kim Jong Un likely knowing
that he doesn’t hold any influence invited him back.”  

She also expressed concern about the
sudden invitation back home, noting,  “Kim Jong Un could have just left his
uncle alone since he no longer holds any presence, but the fact that he made
him come back could be a sign of danger for him (Pyong Il).”

“Given that Kim Jong Un is unleashing
his reign of terror, he may be looking to remove Pyong Il completely from the
scene,” the source surmised. “He might want to swap out the
ambassador with his own person and send Pyong Il away somewhere that no one
knows of and order strict monitoring. You cannot leave out that

Kim Pyong Il was born between North Korea’s
founder Kim Il Sung and his second wife Kim Song Ae. His half-brother Kim Jong
Il, later emphasized through nationwide public lectures that people are not to
harbor fantasies about Pyong Il and his other half-siblings. He dubbed them
‘unwanted branches’ and severed all access to central power within the

*The content of this article was broadcast to the North Korean people via Unification Media Group.