Kim yo young, the little sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, soars again after launching one of his most bizarre attacks on South Korea at the climax of The big jamboree of the Pyongyang Workers’ Party.
Just as eyebrows were raised when her name was kicked out of the ruling Workers’ Party’s new political bureau, Yo Jong once again came out on top.
She accompanied her brother on a visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun to pay tribute to the glazed bodies of their grandfather, Kim Il Sung, who founded the ruling regime, and their father, Kim Jong Il. After a salute to the dynasty, it was Yo Jong who sparked the fiercest rhetoric of a week-long ruling party convention, which was last held in 2016.
Kim yo young took verbal shots at military leaders in the south saying they had absolutely failed to predict how the congress would unfold north of the border.
“What’s strange,” said Yo Jong, “is that South Korea’s chiefs of staff have made a foolish statement that they [spotted] the north opening a military parade at midnight on January 10.
According to state media, Korea’s Central News Agency in Pyongyang, Yo Jong found it hysterical that these South Korean generals thought they could tell what was going on through their aerial surveillance.
Here they were doing “precision tracking,” she said, “but they’re dumb.” Despite all their research, they led “the world’s list” for “bad behavior,” showing “they just want to ’cause laughter’ everywhere.
It was not clear who had the final say, but his statement raised the question of whether the North would indeed close the congress with one of its traditional parades.
Choi Jin-wook, president of the Seoul Center for Strategic and Cultural Studies, said “the economy is the priority” and “a military parade is unlikely until at least April”.
While it was always necessary to precede predictions about North Korea with the phrase “anything can happen,” Choi suspected that much of Kim Jong Un’s military boast was obscuring the reality he was now seeking. get out of the opposite dialogue or compromise.
Choi, who for years served as North Korea’s chief analyst at the Korea National Unification Institute, said his real message for President-elect Joe Biden and South Korean President Moon Jae-in and Chinese President Xi Jinping was that he had moved away from flexing his military muscle.
“He will rely on China and improve relations with it,” Choi said, while keeping the door open to talks with South Korea and the United States.
Kim Yo Jong’s remarks suggested that she and her brother were indeed saying, don’t worry about a parade because the North was “not targeting anyone.” And, she said, weren’t there some vague words about “launching anything”.
All of this made her wonder, “Do they really have nothing more to do than let their military corps do ‘precise tracking’ of the celebrations in the North?”
The fact that Kim Yo Jong spoke so strongly after leaving the politburo has confused attempts to assess his status in the ruling elite. Adding to the mystery, she has been identified in KCNA history as a deputy head of the department rather than “first “ deputy director of the party’s central committee department – the kind of nuance that plunges Pyongyang observers into paroxysms of speculation, especially since a week ago she was appointed to the congressional presidium.
A highlight of the congress was that the big brother, who was already president of the party, was unanimously elected “secretary general”, a rank until then occupied only by Kim Il Sung, who died in 1994, and his father, Kim Jong Il, named “eternal secretary general” after his death in 2011. Interestingly, Chinese President Xi was the first foreign leader to congratulate Kim on his promotion, making it clear that he can count on China to bail it out when the going gets tough.
“Even as KJU rose to the same rank that his father and grandfather once had,” said Evans Revere, a former senior diplomat at the US Embassy in Seoul, “he felt compelled to remind his sister who is in charge.
“You don’t dare shine too bright in her presence,” he said, “but unless she commits a truly unforgivable offense, I hope she will remain one of his closest advisers. . “
Kim closed the Congress on a positive note, as expected, saying, “While further strengthening our deterrence from nuclear war, we must do everything to build the strongest military capabilities.”
More importantly, he said the future hinged on the latest “five-year national economic development plan” – a grand vision that would only succeed after a “desperate struggle” to make up for the failure of the five-year plan promoted by the last party. . congress in 2016.
The question of how to feed its poverty-stricken people must have taken priority at the congress over the big discussions about a huge mega-ton nuclear bomb, a new submarine capable of launching submerged missiles, ballistic missiles to long range capable of carrying warheads all over the United States, or “tactical” nuclear weapons capable of inflicting mass destruction and death anywhere nearby, including South Korea and Japan.
Even though North Korea is showing some of these things, it’s impossible to say if they would display the real thing or mock up. As always in North Korea’s analysis, the problem for Biden’s new foreign policy team will be separating fact from fiction, truth from reality.
To complicate matters, as Human Rights Watch in New York pointed out, North Korea is more closed than ever to objective scrutiny due to the pandemic.
John Sifton, HRW’s director of advocacy for Asia, said Kim’s regime “used the COVID-19 restrictions as a pretext to further strengthen the totalitarian regime and keep North Korea isolated.” He called for pressure on the North “to take transparent measures with international aid”.
“The extreme restrictions in response to COVID-19 have far exceeded public health protection needs, leaving North Koreans more isolated than ever,” the HRW report said. “Authorities have stepped up already tight restrictions on communications with the outside world.”