News / Asia

North Korean Defectors Not Surprised by Promotion of Leader's Son

A South Korean man in Seoul watches a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as he appointed youngest son, Kim Jong Un - shown in portrait at top right - as an army general in an apparent sign he is being groomed as country's next leader,
A South Korean man in Seoul watches a TV news program showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Il as he appointed youngest son, Kim Jong Un - shown in portrait at top right - as an army general in an apparent sign he is being groomed as country's next leader,

Multimedia

Audio

Many North Korean defectors living in South Korea said they are not surprised that a son of leader Kim Jong Il has been appointed to prominent party posts, a move thought to signal the start of a leadership succession.

They also said they think ordinary North Korean citizens do not care very much about who will lead their country.

Lee Sae Yul is a 13-year veteran of North Korea's army who defected to South Korea in 2008.  Lee uses cell phones smuggled from China to keep in contact with family and friends back in North Korea.  He said most of the people he speaks with did not even know Kim Jong Un's name before this week, but they already knew about him from a song.

Lee said there is a propaganda song about Kim Jung Un called "Footsteps," which has been widely spread around to the public.  But his name was not mentioned, he was just called the 'Young General.'

On Tuesday, North Korean state media announced that Kim Jung Un, who is thought to be about 27-years-old, had been made a four-star general.  Several hours later, a meeting of the North's ruling Workers' Party appointed the son of the nation's leader, Kim Jong Il, to prominent party posts.

North Korea experts said the younger Kim's promotions are intended to establish him as a successor to his 68-year-old father.

Lee said it is no surprise to him and other members of the North Korea Liberation Front, a Seoul organization of ex-soldiers, that Kim Jong Un is now a general.  Lee doubts that Kim - nor his aunt Kim Kyong Hui, who also was made a general - have any military experience.

Regardless, the North Korea Liberation Front's director, Kim Myoung Ha, said that based on Pyongyang's military first policy, any future leader must have military credentials, real or not.

Kim said if anyone wants a job in North Korea they must have two things, an education and military experience.  The whole nation is based on the military.  Kim said there is almost no way for North Korean soldiers to learn that their new general is a fraud.  But Kim said he does not think that most North Koreans are concerned with who their next ruler will be.

Park Gun Ha agrees. He was once a member of the Workers Party and now belongs to a defector organization involving former government officials.  Park said North Koreans lost hope when Kim Jong Il took over and the economy went bad.  He said they do not really care about who the successor is, they are much more concerned with how they will survive.

Park said if the government can not improve conditions in the impoverished country, it is unlikely North Koreans will give their support to Kim Jong Un when he does eventually take over.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid