One source from North Hamkyung Province told Daily NK on Sunday, “Since early July, the authorities had been telling us loudly, ‘The Youth Captain Kim Jong Woon is leading the construction of our strong and prosperous socialist state from the front,’ but now all that has disappeared completely. In schools, students cannot even sing the song, ‘Footsteps,’ any more.”
With regards to the 150-Day Battle, “Until late-July, they claimed that Captain Kim Jong Woon was organizing and commanding the Battle directly. Under the current conditions, however, even after the completion of the campaign, there may well be nothing about the leadership of Captain Kim Jong Woon.”
As these and other sources have noted, the North Korean authorities have commanded the people to stop all propaganda about Kim Jong Woon. The backdrop to these policy changes is causing Pyongyang watchers to wonder why the succession project has come to such a sudden halt.
Rumors are swirling around. One popular suggestion is that Kim Jong Woon incurred his father’s displeasure because he meddled in personnel management affairs beyond his remit.
On August 24, the Propaganda Secretary of the Municipal Committee of the Party in a city in North Hamkyung Province revealed, “Kim Jong Woon drove some cadres from their positions by making unsubstantiated accusations against them, and then placed his own people in their positions. This made Kim Jong Il very angry.”
Actually, Kim Jong Woon never had the authority to move or replace personnel, so he is alleged to have created allegations against them and counterfeited documents to submit to his father.
The background is as follows: the position of National Security Agency Director is officially vacant, but Kim Jong Il was doing the work while his health was good. After Kim’s condition deteriorated last year, however, he reportedly entrusted the duties to brother-in-law Jang Sung Taek and second and third sons Jong Cheol and Jong Woon.
Thereafter, Kim Jong Woon undertook both NSA and Escort Bureau work as part of the succession process.
During his NSA leadership period, Kim Jong Woon is alleged to have pushed out elderly cadres whom he did not favor and tried to place his more youthful associates in their positions.
Since Kim Jong Woon did not actually have the power, he is said to have falsely accused the elderly cadres and submitted inaccurate documents to Kim Jong Il. Eventually, information got back to the elder Kim.
Additionally, from February to May this year, three core NSA officials got driven from their positions on the pretext of a lack of ability, corruption and ideological problems, and Kim Jong Woon is alleged to have put his people into their vacant positions.
Furthermore, on April 25 of this year, the Founding Day of the People’s Army, Kim Jong Il was supposed to watch the annual family performance of the People’s Safety Agency. However, he concluded an onsite inspection and got back to Pyongyang too late to see the performance. Therefore, the performance was cancelled.
As a result, some officials in the Political Department of the People’s Safety Agency were reshuffled. Some said that Kim Jong Woon encouraged the spread of the problem.
After Kim Jong Il noticed this affair, he is said to have put the brakes on the succession project.