Kim with No Guardian Causing Concern

Kim Kyong Hui’s failure to appear at yesterday’s events to mark the second
anniversary of the death of Kim Jong Il has incited speculation on a number of levels. 

There is the widespread belief that Kim may be too ill to take part in such events. However, rumors of her poor
health, and even some that she had already died, have been around for several
years, and she may yet reappear once again. However, the possibility remains
that the arrest and execution of Jang Sung Taek, her estranged husband, could
have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.

In the event that Kim’s health had deteriorated to critical point, she would be unable to play the role of close
family guardian to the Kim Jong Eun regime. As a result, Kim Jong Eun will have
to rule without anyone from his family watching over him. The possibility of instability in the North has risen off the back of
the way Jang was tried and executed, meaning that such actions could rebound badly.

A source familiar with North Korean issues
told Daily NK on the 18th, “From Kim Jong Eun’s perspective, he had
to get her to attend the event in order to show off that she is alive and well.
That this couldn’t be done shows that things are critical. Kim Kyong Hui has
not been well for a long time, and she could be in shock following her husband’s

The source added, “If in fact her health
has deteriorated further due to this series of events, and thus she is no
longer able to advise [Kim Jong Eun] politically, then he has effectively lost both
the people who can be described as his guardians at the same time. The Kim Jong
Eun system, which is just entering its third year, has no one to provide
advice, and it looks as if it will now be awash in ‘flatterers’ and little

“In future, now that all his supporting
pillars have disappeared, he will have to manage the state alone. His political
ability is insufficient, so could readily be shaken by the slightest hardship. Rather
than people he can trust, there will be more and more people engaging in power struggles and telling
tales on one another.”

The source added that Choe Ryong Hae, seemingly the
new number two following Jang’s execution, has no real political authority and
his power is shallow. He is solely engrossed in maintaining the favor of Kim
Jong Eun.

“Choe Ryong Hae has no real power in the
military. He is not accepted within the military and he has no power, so nobody
will follow him. In fact, Choe Ryong Hae is referred to as ‘the inflexible fool’
by North Korean cadres,” the source said.

“Choe is not his own man,” he went
on. “He is known as the guy playing the ‘hunter’s dog’ role, always loyal to
his master. If he is the number two then he will always be watching Kim Jong Eun as
he would need to be concerned about getting executed like Jang Sung Taek.”

“Kim Jong Eun will feel that nobody is
sincerely loyal to him, that he is isolated,” the source mused. “At the moment
there are no moves toward provocative actions because he needs to keep on China’s
good side, but later he may well make a bad decision if things aren’t going his