World

Kim Yo Jong steals the show at Big Brother coronation

LUONG THAI LINH

Kim yo young, the little sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, is riding high again after launching one of her most bizarre attacks on South Korea at the climax of The big jamboree of the Pyongyang Workers’ Party.

Just as eyebrows were raised when his name was kicked out of the ruling Workers’ Party’s new political bureau, Yo Jong has come back to the fore.

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 saluting 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, claiming they had absolutely failed to predict how the congress would unfold north of the border.

“What’s strange,” Yo Jong said, “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.

Kim Yo Jong set to become the first female dictator in modern history

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 actually 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 boasting was obscuring the reality he was now seeking out. get out of an opposing dialogue or compromise.

Choi, who for years served as North Korea’s chief analyst at the Korea National Unification Institute, said his real message to 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, has there not been some vague rhetoric about “launching anything”.

All of this made her wonder, “Do they really have nothing else to do but let their military corps do ‘precise tracking’ of the celebrations in the North?”

The fact that Kim Yo Jong spoke so firmly after leaving the politburo has confounded attempts to assess his status within 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 department at the party’s central committee – the kind of nuance that plunges Pyongyang observers into paroxysms of speculation, especially since she was appointed to the congress presidium a week ago.

Kim Yo Jong, Kim Jong Un’s little sister, is ‘fearful’, ‘respected’ in North Korea

A highlight of the congress was that the big brother, who was already president of the party, was unanimously elected “general secretary”, 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 his father and grandfather once had,” said Evans Revere, 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.”

Most 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 speech about a huge mega-ton nuclear bomb, a brand new submarine capable of launching submerged missiles, ballistic missiles 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 the analysis of North Korea, 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 pointed out in New York, North Korea is more closed than ever to objective examination due to the pandemic.

John Sifton, HRW’s Asia Advocacy Director, 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 strict restrictions on communications with the outside world.”

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