True Picture of North Korea According to a Former Workers Party Secretary
(1) KIM JONG-IL'S HEALTH AND PERSONALITY
¡Û Kim Jong-il is currently in good health, and there were no signs to the contrary when Hwang saw the junior Kim during a New Year's Day ceremony at Keumsusan Memorial Palace.
¡Û The junior Kim works or parties through the night on frequent occasions, and has a tendency to inspect construction sites or preparations for public ceremonies in the early morning hours (usually between three and four AM), along with surprise phone calls during the same hours. The behavior is a deliberate one, an ostentatious display of his 'diligence' and 'hard work'.
¡Û Kim Jong-il's personality can be characterized by suspicion, and is extremely emotional in his expression of his likes and dislikes, which borders on double personality. He has been known to dispense with his sycophants in summary fashion at the slightest hint of disloyalty, all in direct contradiction to Kim Il-sung's praise of his broadmindedness and magnanimity.
(2) FAMILY RELATIONS
¡Û The junior Kim is extremely close to Kim Kyung-hee, his little sister and the only other sibling from his real mother. Kim Jong-il has declared in the past that "everyone should be as loyal as Kim Kyung-hee", and demands that his sister be treated with the same respect and deference.
¡Û Kim Kyung-hee currently heads the light industry division of the Worker's Party Economic Policy Audit Department, but she is allowed direct access to Kim Jong-il in decision-making, bypassing department chief Han Sung-ryong.
¡Û Siblings by stepmother Kim Song-ae are referred to as an 'offshoot clique', including Kim Song-ae herself, and are subject to official ostracism due to an internal war of propaganda waged against the group by the junior Kim.
(3) KIM JONG-IL'S LIFE OF LUXURY
¡Û Dachas (retreats) for Kim Jong-il's personal use are planned and designed by the semi-official Paektu-san Architectural Research Institute, and built by the construction department of the Worker's Party. All necessities for use in the retreats are imported from abroad, and some of them from North Korean expatriates in Japan.
¡Û The junior Kim spends his entire weekend at dachas in Kangdong, Yongsung, or other locations in the vicinity of Pyongyang. He is often accompanied by his favorite party secretaries such as Kim Ki-nam, Kim Yong-soon, and Kim Kuk-tae, along with a group of women known only as the [Pleasure Squad].
¡Û Luxury properties as far away as China and Russia have been purchased as retreats, for EXCLUSIVE use by the junior Kim. Workers at Kim Jong-il's office spend most of their time on the road trying to procure specialty items for Kim Jong-il.
(4) KIM JONG-IL AS A LEADER
¡Û Both the elder and junior Kim are dictators, but with very divergent and different styles of leadership. Kim Jong-il's impatience and extemporaneous behavior contrasts markedly with Kim Il-sung's magnanimity and charisma, which allowed him to cover his lies to the populace.
¡Û The elder Kim was mindful of advice from others, while Kim Jong-il is arrogant and self-centered in policy decision. In addition, the junior Kim does not take kindly to criticism or opinions different from his own, and all digression and dissent is answered by swift punishment.
¡Û Kim Jong-il micromanages every detail of government business from deciding the number of floors and rooms in houses for party secretaries to sending gifts to his subordinates.
¡Û Absolute obedience to Kim Jong-il is the only way to gain swift promotion within his power hierarchy. He also tends to dominate meetings and conferences, and to lead all discussion to conclusions congruent with his own.
(5) KIM IL-SUNG'S RISE TO POWER
¡Û Various political factions were purged from power by Kim Il-sung following the Korean War. Those from the South Korean Worker's Party were first to be eliminated, followed in succession by the Yenan (China) faction, the Soviet Faction, and finally opponents within his own Kapsan faction. Yi Seung-yop, Park Hon-yung, and other socialists from the SKWP were purged on charges of espionage and were made scapegoats for North Korea's defeat in the Korean War.
¡Û The Yenan and the Soviet faction members such as Choi Chang-ik and Yoon Kong-heum were eliminated from the ranks of power in the late fifties for supposedly plotting against Kim Il-sung during his extended visit to Eastern Europe (June-July 1956) in the incident referred to as the [August Factionalist Incident].
¡Û Kim Jong-il was active in the purge of opponents of the Kapsan and the military faction in the sixties, partly to weaken Kim Young-ju's (Kim Il-sung's younger brother) power base.
- Kim Jong-il began influencing party politics in the late sixties, and the junior Kim and his crony O Jin-woo were major factors behind driving Hur Bong-hak, Kim Kwang-hyop, and other military men out of power between 1969 and 1970, for purposes of emasculating Kim Young-ju politically.
- Kim Il-sung secured absolute loyalty from the ruling elite by wiping out opponents who had fought with him as guerrillas in two successive purges. Cadres were reduced to gauging the whims of the elder and junior Kim.
¡Û Elimination of all political opponents also marked the beginning of the dictatorship and the cult of personality, and 'socialist democracy' is all but extinct.
- Hands were raised in party policy discussions during the sixties, at least as a formality, but members have been relegated to the status of rubber stamps after Kim Jong-il's formulation of the Singular Ideology.
- The Great Leader's (Kim Il-sung) words and decisions quickly became law, leaving no room for individual initiative by ranking cadres under the ideal of a 'socialist democracy'.
- The size of the military was doubled by Kim Jong-il, O Jin-woo, and their military cronies in order to ensure victory in a second Korean War without aid from China.
(6) KIM JONG-IL'S RISE TO POWER
¡Û Kim Jong-il expressed an interest in power early on, acting out his role as 'premier' during childhood play, and aided his father in policy-making as a student.
- The young Kim Jong-il would name himself premier and appointed his friends as 'ministers', and bellowed orders while playing with them.
- He also studied issues of interest to his father, in attempts to attract attention from his father.
¡Û The seventeen-year-old Kim Jong-il planned the itinerary for his father and his visit to the Twenty-First Assembly of the Soviet Communist Party, accompanied by Hwang himself, in an act of political precocity.
¡Û The junior Kim has played a major role in appointment and dismissal of personnel, in addition to political purges, ever since his entry to the Worker's Party in June of 1946.
- The junior Kim started out as a guidance officer in the party's cultural and propaganda departments, owing to his playful nature, and this stint was followed by creation of his own clique and involvement in personnel reshuffling in the Organization and Guidance Department.
- His involvement in purging Kim Il-sung's guerrilla cronies and those who were not personal friends of his father was his way of proving his loyalty to the elder Kim.
¡Û The junior Kim wrested the post of party organization secretary from his uncle in September 1973, and solidified his status as heir by virtue of his entry to the politburo in February of the following year.
¡Û Kim Young-ju was appointed deputy premier by Kim Il-sung in December, 1973, due to the fact that the elder Kim no longer considered him a political threat to Kim Jong-il, whose political power base was already secure by that point in time, and to alleviate his younger brother's sense of political alienation. Kim Young-ju is now regarded as a 'political scarecrow', in a virtual sinecure.
¡Û Kim Jong-il created a system of summarizing an account of events from all over North Korea into a daily report format during consolidation of his power within the party. Even county or municipal parties are to report directly to the party center if the event is deemed significant enough to warrant its attention.