A special train, possibly of North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, this week was seen in a resort town, based on satellite images which were analized by a project from Washington specializing in monitoring the situation in North Korea.
In a report released on Saturday, the 38North project said the train was stationed at the “leader station” in Wonsan on April 21-23, and said it was a station reserved for the Kim family only.
Accordingly, it may have been Kim Jong-un’s train, but whether it was true, or whether Kim was in Wonsan, could not be independently verified.
“The train’s presence does not prove where the North Korean leader is, or shows any indication of his health, but it would support the reports saying that Mr Kim is currently in a luxury area on the country’s east coast,” the 38North report said.
Rumors about Kim’s health first surfaced when he was absent from the anniversary of North Korea’s founding father, Kim Jong-un’s grandfather, Kim Nhat Thanh, on April 15.
China has sent a team to North Korea, including medical experts, to support Kim Jong Un’s health, according to Reuters sources.
The delegation, headed by a senior member of the International Liaison Committee of the Communist Party of China, arrived in North Korea on April 23, according to two sources. The International Liaison Department is China’s main body in charge of relations with Pyongyang.
Kim Jong Un’s absence is very noticeable. Kim was last seen four days before, at a meeting of the Korean Workers’ Party. However, few people know the truth in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and outside, they are anxious to search for revealed information.
There are many assumptions made, based on one or more sources. Some did not mention the surgery, others said that French doctors were invited to undergo heart surgery, including the hypothesis that Kim Jong Un infected with the Coronavirus was also put forward.
The South Korean presidential office said: “We do not have any information to confirm the rumor about President Kim Jong Un’s health as some have reported.”
In the past, Kim Jong Un had disappeared for 40 days, then reappeared with a stick-he had foot surgery.
South Korea’s Ministry of Defense sees an unusual increase in North Korea in checking the readiness of artillery and fighter aircraft.
South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong Doo said North Korea had “an unusual increase” in checking artillery readiness and carrying out air flight operations, increasing tensions in the region.
Minister Jeong’s remarks were made in a congratulatory message to receive the mission of the military medical forces. He noted that North Korea continued to focus on weapons development, while not responding to proposal for resuming talks.
“North Korea is increasing military tensions through unusual activities to test the readiness of the army, mainly artillery and air force,” Minister Jeong said.
That same day, North Korean MiG and Sukhoi fighters conducted exercises and fired several surface-to-air missiles at the eastern sea.
A Joint Chief of Staff said earlier there had been an increase in North Korean surveillance activities in the airspace near the border with China in the Yellow Sea, including some areas that were not declared clearly by Pyongyang or Beijing.
The unusual increase in North Korea’s military operations comes amid the health concerns of leader Kim Jong Un. North Korean state media did not mention Kim’s situation.
Instead, North Korean media focused on praising the 88th anniversary of the establishment of the Korean Revolutionary People’s Army (KRPA) on April 25.
The Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the mouthpiece of the Korean Workers’ Party, published an editorial highlighting Kim Jong Un’s call for strengthening military power and increasing military support. to his leadership.
It is extremely difficult to report news from North Korea, due to the fact that it strictly controls information.
As the third generation to come to power after his father Kim Jong Il (Kim Jong-il) died in late 2011, Kim Jong-un had no apparent successor to the nation with nuclear weapons, and this can create enormous international risks.
Daily NK, a Seoul-based website that reports on North Korea, cited an unnamed source from North Korea on Monday, saying that Kim had received medical treatment at the Hyangsan resort in northern Pyongyang.
Daily NK reported that Mr. Kim needed urgent treatment in connection with his heavy smoking, obesity and hard work.
The last time Kim appeared publicly was when he presided over a meeting of the Politburo of the Korean Workers’ Party on April 11, and overseeed the exercise of a fighter unit of an air defense unit. It is unclear when the inspection took place, but the news was reported in state media on April 12.
CNN quoted an anonymous US official as saying Washington was “spying on intelligence” which said Mr Kim was in danger of health after undergoing surgery.
Little is known about Kim’s private life until a video on television showed an unknown woman attending the events next to him. In July 2012, state television announced that Kim was married to “comrade Ri Sol-ju.”
South Korean intelligence said the two had three children.
In a situation where Kim Jong-un seems to have “a health problem“, observers now focus on two characters, Kim Pyong-il, and Kim Yo-jong.
Kim Pyong-il, born in 1954, is the son of Kim Song-ae, the second wife of Kim Il-sung. He is a half-brother younger brother to Kim Jong-il who was born in 1941 and father of Kim Jong-un. According to high-ranking officials fleeing North Korea, Kim Pyong-il looks very similar to Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong-il once felt his father cared for his younger brother a lot.
Kim Pyong-il studied English in southern Europe Malta in the late 1960s, then studied at the North Korean military academy and had a license for a light civil aircraft in East Germany.
A former East German official described him as “intelligent, educated.” He is also believed to have studied in Moscow. Kim Pyong-il speaks Russian fluently, the former East German official said.
He became a senior member of his father’s bodyguard like Kim Jong-il. He was quickly promoted to colonel and was appointed deputy head of the strategy department of the bodyguard.
Kim Pyong-il’s best friends are men like Kim Chang-ha, the son of State Security Minister Kim Byong-ha, and Chon Wi, the son of the head of the bodyguard. They usually hold parties at Kim Byong-ha’s house. Kim Pyong-il often gives watches engraved with Kim Il-sung’s name to the guests.
“He’s quite exaggerated and very generous, many people flatter him by praising ‘Long-lasting Kim Pyong-il!,” said Kang Myong Do, the fugitive admitted as the son-in-law of the late North Korean Prime Minister Kang Song -san. “It’s a taboo, don’t use that phrase to talk about anyone in North Korea except Kim Il-sung.”
Upon hearing the news, Mr. Kim Il-sung was very angry, Kim Pyong-il was “disgraced” while Kim Jong-il’s position was strengthened. Kim Pyong-il was later sent to work abroad in the field of diplomacy.
Since 1979, he has held many diplomatic positions, including ambassadors in Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, Poland and the Czech Republic. His two children go to college in Poland.
At the end of his life, Kim Nhat Thanh is said to disagree with his son Kim Jong-il about many policies. According to Japanese analyst Katsumi Sato, when the wife of a former Japanese prime minister visited Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, he said Kim Pyong-il helped him maintain good health.
Kim Pyong-il, meanwhile, lives quietly in Europe, barely communicating with the public, never speaking out against Kim Jong-il or criticizing North Korea. This makes him different from Kim Jong-nam, Kim Jong-un’s half-brother, who often responds to Japanese media before being said to be assassinated in Malaysia in 2017. Kim Pyong-il is also less contact with the diplomatic community, usually attending the events of the embassies of Algeria, Russia and Syria only.
In 1994, Kim Pyong-il and his mother attended Kim Il-sung’s funeral, but their images did not appear on North Korean television, according to Yonhap.
In December 2011, when Kim Jong-il died, South Korean officials said Kim Pyong-il was still in Poland and did not attend the funeral.
In November 2019, Kim Pyong-il returned to North Korea, retired from his diplomatic career abroad, marking his first return to North Korea after 40 years.
The document at the Wilson Center also noted the comments of Polish officials that after the visit of General Wojciech Jaruzelski to Pyongyang before Poland transferred its institutions, the two countries agreed to cooperate on security and intelligence.
These contacts are unlikely to progress after Poland enters NATO, but is a sign that Pyongyang has been keen to have more relations with Warsaw so that it will not have to rely solely on Moscow or Beijing.
What role for younger sister Kim Yo-jong?
Born in 1987, once with her brother, Kim Jong-un, in Switzerland, this woman first appeared in the 2014 North Korean National Assembly election.
After that, she became Kim Jong-un’s right-hand person in important diplomatic missions, with South Korea, and was in Hanoi in February 2019, with him attending the US-Korea summit.
Here, Kim Yo-jong shook hands with US President Donald Trump, and then went not far from his brother as Mr. Trump and Un entered the private discussion room.
Kim Yo-jong made her first political statement in early March, criticizing South Korea as a “dog barking in fear” after it expressed deep concern about the North Korean missile test, saying Seoul has no right to criticize Pyongyang when it conducts private and joint drills with Washington.
Also in March, she praised US President Donald Trump after he sent a letter to Kim Jong-un to express his desire to maintain bilateral relations, as well as to offer assistance to North Korea to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kim Yo-jong’s political statements show her central role in government. “Jong-un allows his sister to draft and publish offensive nuances. He is clearly letting his sister become his second personality,” said Youngshik Bong, an expert at the Research Institute on North Korea at Yonsei University in Seoul.
Leif-Eric Easley, an associate professor of international relations at Ewha University, Seoul, was quoted as saying by the British newspaper: “The North Korean regime is the work of a family, so Kim Yo-jong has proven her ability in modernizing the regime’s ‘brand’, and seeming to hold propaganda. Her most important role is her brother’s trusted person.”
Another observer, Leonid Petrov, from Sydney, quoted by The Guardian in the UK, said that because of her brother’s trust, Kim Yo-jong “helped Kim Jong-un to build a positive image in the tournament, solve international issues. But whether Kim Yo-jong can take over when Kim Jong-un “has any problem” is a difficult question to answer.
Opinions from South Korea believe that North Korea is a male-dominated society, and Kim Yong-jo can only serve as temporary leader, but cannot hold the highest position once Kim Jong-un is insufficient healthy or dead.
Suk Ho-shin, wrote in the article, ‘Will Kim Yo Jong become Kim Jong Un’s successor?’ in Donga-Ilbo newspaper in Seoul (April 17, 2020), Kim Jong-un’s younger sister has assumed responsibilities as a special envoy to the South since 2018, and recently directed campaign to deal with Covid-19.
She is not just Kim Jong-un’s younger sister, and may have built a powerful faction in the system.
But for a young woman to come to power in Confucian power, respect for men and women is not simple, and everything must be agreed by the rulers of many generals in North Korea.
Another member of the blood stream ‘Mount White Head’ (Paektu) of Kim Il-sung is Kim Jong-chol, brother of Kim Jong-un.
This person originally liked music and had little interest in politics.
Recently, Kim Jong-chol “had a serious health problem“, and was criticized by his father for being “like a girl.” The ability of such a person to dominate the North Korean military may be difficult for the country’s marshals and generals to accept.
If Kim Jong-un’s health situation worsens and the selection of a successor in the Kim clan is not reached, the risk of power struggle erupts, according to observers.
Information that has been given before shows that horrific purges occurred before Kim Jong Un came to power in 2012 after his father Kim Jong Il died in 2011.
Hoang Trung from Hanoi – Thoibao.de (Translated)