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Korea Plans Mystery Meeting

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  • Korea Plans Mystery Meeting

    Korea is preparing for the largest meeting of military and party officials in decades, a party congress of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea (WPK). Billboards have blossomed all around North Korea’s capital Pyongyang and military units rehearse march-byes in the suburbs. So what’s the big mystery? What the meeting I actually about.

    Considering North Korea has been in the grips of a murderous famine off-and-on for over a decade, considering the fact that the central government tried to choke off a burgeoning free market last year with a set of ham-fisted currency reforms which triggered ruinous inflation, wiped out the saving of most ordinary Koreas, and broke the rubble of the north’s shattered economy into even smaller pieces, there’s potentially a lot for the WPK to talk about.

    But none of those issues are likely to be addressed. The only issue likely to surface is the presidential succession. Will Kim Jung-Il name his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un, as his successor? Or will he simply give him several ceremonial posts.

    Kim Jong-Il’s father, Kim Il-Sung, the original president of North Korea, laid the groundwork for his succession over a decade in advance and carefully prepared the organs of state power for the event. Kim Jong-Il has done virtually nothing, making the prospect of leadership succession in the north as ramshackle as everything else about that blighted land.

    The succession is so shaky, and Kim is so unpopular with his own people and many of the party elites, that there is now speculation about the ...


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