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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

US Urges Restraint in Hong Kong Protests

Protesters angered by Beijing's decision to only approve candidates that it sanctions for Hong Kong's leadership elections in 2017 More

Archive of Forgotten UCLA Speeches Offers Snapshot of History

Recordings of prominent voices in social change, politics, science and literature from 1960s, early 1970s now available on YouTube 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.
Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenyai
X
Gabe Joselow
September 29, 2014 6:20 PM
Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Video

Video Reconstruction? What Reconstruction? Life After War in Gaza

It’s been a month since Israel and the Palestinians agreed to a ceasefire to end 52 days of an air and tank war that left 60,000 homes in Gaza damaged or destroyed and 110,000 homeless. Sharon Behn reports that lack of reconstruction is leading to despair.
Video

Video US, Saudi Arabia and UAE Hit Islamic State's Oil Revenue

The United States, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have bombed oil facilities operated by Islamic State militants in Syria. It was a truly collaborative effort, with the two Arab countries dropping the majority of the bombs. The 12 refineries targeted were estimated to generate as much as $2 million per day for the terrorist group. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has the story.
Video

Video Russia's Food Sanctions Raise Price Worries, Hopes for Domestic Production

Russia retaliated against Western sanctions imposed for its actions in Ukraine by halting food imports from the West. The temporary import ban on food from Australia, the European Union, Norway and North America has Russian consumers concerned that they could face a sharp increase in food prices. But in an ironic twist, the restrictions aimed at the Kremlin have made Russia's domestic food producers hopeful this can boost their business. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Washington to Pyongyang: 'Shut This Evil System Down'

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is calling on North Korea to shut down prison camps and other human rights abuses following a United Nations Commission of Inquiry into "widespread and systematic human rights violations." VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid