Successor of Kim Jong Il Chosen?

[imText1]A South Korean expert suggested evidence of decision of possible successor in Pyongyang.

Lee Ki Dong, head of Inter-Korean Studies Center at International Affairs Institute, wrote in his recent article that North Korea, “although facing hardship after nuclear test, is likely to try to have already settled the successor issue in order to prevent future conflict.”

“At this point, it is the perfect timing (for North Korea) to propagandize new leadership that would overcome the current crisis,” Lee argued, “and (in succession of leadership) current leader’s age matters more than that of successor candidate.” (Two of Kim Jong Il’s favorite sons are still in their twenties)

Lee had been analyzing the Rodong Shinmun, North Korean state newspaper’s editorials since 2000, and detected an increase in mentioning of the word “dawn,” such as Kim Jong Il’s statement of “Strong Nation’s age dawns,” particularly after nuclear test.

According to Lee’s analysis, emphasis on the word “dawn” in the recent Rodong editorials should be interpreted constructively. “Dawn does not only mean a new age of the so-called Strong Nation but also a new rising sun, or successor of Kim Jong Il,” Lee analyzed.

Frequency of the word “dawn” in the Rodong editorials had been 9 to 36 times per year from 2000 to 2005, whereas the same word has appeared 324 times in this year so far.

Monthly frequency of “dawn” had been less than 10 until this June and has sharply increased since July when North Korea launched ballistic missiles; 39 times in July, 40 in August, 101 in September and 128 in October.

Lee also found out delicate change in the term “Brain of Revolution”; originally, North Korean media defined the Brain of Revolution as Kim Jong Il, but the term has been mentioned in North Korean newspaper articles when succession of revolution is topic.

Before Kim Jong Il was officially declared as his father Kim Il Sung’s successor in 1980, KJI had been disguised as the “Party Center” and taken successor lessons since 1974, the year he defeated his uncle Kim Young Ju in power struggle.

Who will be Kim’s successor?

Lee pointed out recent propaganda of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il’s teenage activities, which emphasizes irrelevance of age in revolutionary leadership. Therefore, Lee concluded, still young sons of Kim Jong Il would most likely be chosen as the next leader of North Korea.

Although any of Kim sons is experienced enough or exposed to the public yet, it is always possible to manipulate the image of successor in North Korea. However, Lee expected, since manipulation of image would take considerable time, decision of who to succeed Kim Jong Il would be done in near future.