Kim Jong-un disappears as regime in dire straits: Duowei
The real reason North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has disappeared for the last three weeks is more related to politics than to his ailing health, claims Duowei News, a US-based Chinese political news website.
The 31-year-old Kim has not appeared in public for more than 20 days and missed a parliamentary session for the first time since becoming North Korea's supreme leader nearly three years ago.
During the Sept. 25 session Kim was absent from, Hwang Pyong-so, the vice minister of the Central Committee of Korean Workers' Party was appointed vice chairman of the country's powerful National Defense Commission to effectively become Kim's second-in-command. According to Duowei, this appointment was supposedly forced through by Kim as it did not have majority support from party officials.
Hwang's appointment completes a key reshuffle after vice marshal Choe Ryong-hae, Kim's former No. 2, and defense minister Jang Jong-nam, were both removed from their posts in the politburo of the Korean People's Army in May.
While North Korea's state media later admitted that Kim has been "suffering discomfort," Duowei claims that the real reason Kim has not been seen since Sept. 3 is because of dire instability in his regime. Citing rumors circulating in North Korea's political circles, Duowei suggests that Kim may have already been placed under house arrest by Hwang, who forced Kim elevate him to second-in-command as part of his plan to eventually usurp Kim's throne.
Kim has struggled to keep his regime stable since coming into power in December 2011 following the death of his father Kim Jong-il. Ri Yong-ho, chief of the general staff of the Korean People's Army, was forced into retirement for unspecified health reasons in July 2012, though Duowei claims it was really the result of an internal power struggle between Ri and Choe.
Since Kim executed his uncle-in-law and former No. 2 Jang Sung-taek last December for treason, he has continued to place more power in the hands of Hwang, though it appears this may have been the wrong decision if Hwang is indeed planning on staging a coup, Duowei said.
However, Kim may not have had much choice given the pressure he faced from his uncle and Choe, who have been likened to North Korean versions of China's Zhou Yongkang and Bo Xilai, powerful officials with some degree of control over the national military and security forces who have a different vision on how the country should be run. The retired Zhou was officially placed under a graft investigation in late July, while Bo is serving a life sentence for corruption and abuse of power.
Complicating matters further are rumors that Kim Jong-nam, the eldest son of Kim Jong-il, is continuing to qustion the legitimacy of his younger brother's rule. Last September, Kim Jong-nam reportedly sent his son, Kim Han-Sol, to the renowned Sciences Po in Paris to study English, law, politics and international relations, raising suspicions that he may be laying the foundations of a coup in the future.
From China's perspective, it is clear that Communist Party leaders have little faith in Kim's regime. Duowei states that China has clearly been unwilling to back Kim, turning him down for state visits to Beijing three times in the past year and siding with the international community in opposing North Korea's nuclear tests.
On Sept. 9, Chinese president Xi Jinping sent a telegram to Kim on the 66th anniversary of the founding of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. However, in contrast to the telegram sent by Xi's predecessor Hu Jintao in 2008, the telegram made no mention of Kim Jing-un's predecessors, his father and grandfather Kim Il-sung, when describing the achievements of the country, preferring to refer to the more generic umbrella of the Workers' Party of Korea instead.
Xi Jinping 習近平
Which of these two delivered the instructions RCE/BS stylee?