Hwang Jang Yop, President of the Committee for the Democratization of North Korea, believes the motivation behind the Chosun Workers’ Party (KWP) delegates’ conference, which is to be held for the first time in 44 years this September, is Kim Jong Il’s belief that the power of the Party needs to be increased since too much authority is currently concentrated in the National Defense Commission, and this could represent an obstacle to the establishment of Kim Jong Eun’s succession.
Hwang, who was speaking at a forum in Seoul on July 13th, explained, “Kim Jong Il relies on the military to reign, and the core of that power is the National Defense Commission, but he is trying to solve the succession issue by strengthening the authority of the Party.”
“Kim wants to return the National Defense Commission to its previous role, which was to devote itself to military duty,” he added.
Hwang stated, “Kim Jong Il believes that Kim Jong Eun’s succession cannot be same as his own, which was done through the military. He believes that Kim Jong Eun cannot manage the military as well as he could, and therefore, if Kim Jong Il dies with power concentrated in the National Defense Commission, stabilizing the succession will be difficult.”
“The military is difficult to control if there is a problem, and since Kim Jong Il understands this fact, he is intending to control the military through the Party. Also, Kim will want to announce the succession issue to the North Korean people through the Party rather than the military.”
“The previous Military Commission of the Chosun Worker’s Party served the role of an administrative organization,” Hwang reminded listeners. “Taking the opportunity offered by the Chosun Workers’ Party delegates’ conference, the functions of the Party will be acknowledged and strengthened, while the military will be refocused on military work.”
He also commented, “Kim Jong Il has threatened the international community through the military in difficult political and economic times, and run North Korea by directly mobilizing the army. However, the cultural and ideological unification of North Korean citizens is impossible through the military so, Kim Jong Il will actively use the Party in the establishment of the succession.”
“Kim Jong Il believes that only the Party can unite the North Korean people ideologically during the establishment of the succession, so therefore he is hosting the Chosun Workers’ Party delegates’ conference to begin the process by reinforcing Party authority,” Hwang concluded, returning to the main theme.