So much for a de facto coronation.
In the weeks leading up to this week’s April 7th session of North Korea‘s Parliament, there was a big hearty slice of that brand of journalism I like to call “Kimchi or Won’t He?” In the case of Kim Jong-il, it’s all about his health and, periodically, whether or not he will appear, reappear, or disappear. As far as his twentysomething son is concerned (pictured), the speculation currently surrounds whether he is the new leader in waiting, a new leader awaiting, or simply pops’ new leader baiting. It now seems in KJ Jr.’s case like the last scenario has taken hold.
Several other moves were made official at the Thursday session, including the appointment of four-star general Ri Myong-su as new Minister of People’s Security. But get this – after weeks during which the “rubber-stamp” session was framed as being the likely next-stage launchpad for Kim Jong-un‘s dynastic succession, he wasn’t even in attendance. Nor, for that matter, was dad.
Instead of Jong-un getting appointed to the National Defense Commission, that honor on Thursday went to Park To-chun, a Worker’s Party Secretary called upon to replace an 85-year-old geezer by the name of Jon Byong-ho. Young son is still a four-star general, per his promotion to that rank last fall. But right now, any thoughts of a further succession ascension suddenly seem more rightly answered by the response, “Yeah, you and what army?”