Sunday, July 3, 2011
Kim Jong-il's half-brother under house arrest because he looks like father
Kim Jong-il's half-brother has reportedly been placed under house arrest in Pyongyang because his resemblance to his father and founder of the nation, Kim Il-sung, could derail the transfer of power to the Dear Leader's son.
South Korean media claimed that Kim Pyong-il, the North's ambassador to Poland, has been under house arrest since May when he returned to Pyongyang in May to see his ailing mother, Kim Song-AeHe.
Sources quoted by the Chosun Ilbo newspaper said Kim Jong-il and his son, Kim Jong-Un, are manoeuvring to isolate him. They are said to be concerned that he could attract the support of factions within the regime that have not been entirely won over by the youthful and inexperienced Kim Jong-Un.
Another advantage that Kim Pyong-Il has, they say, is his similarity to his father, a man who died in July 1994 but is still revered in North Korea.
Many in the impoverished state look back at his reign with nostalgia for a time when food supplies were adequate and North Korea had functioning industries and higher standards of living.
There have even been reports that the chubby Kim Jong-Un has undergone plastic surgery in an attempt to more closely resemble his grandfather and enhance his claim to the regime.
"Some of these 'palace-politics' intrigues in this kind of Stalinist system often play out in this way, with anyone near the inner circle who is perceived to be a threat very vulnerable," Daniel Pinkston, senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, told London's The Daily Telegraph from Seoul.
The ongoing saga of the succession is also causing concern in Washington, where General James Thurman told the US Senate Armed Service Committee this week that Kim Jong-Un's youth and inexperience could lead to new provocations on the peninsula.
"Kim Jong-Un's youth and inexperience increase the likelihood of miscalculation, as does the imperative for him to establish credibility with the military hardliners he needs to support succession," General Thurman told the hearing, convened to confirm his appointment as the next commander of US forces in South Korea.
Tensions in the region will not have been eased by a statement issued by North Korea's Secretariat of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of Korea, criticising plans announced in Seoul to develop five islands close to the disputed sea border on the west coast of the peninsula as tourist resorts.
The Daily Telegraph, London
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/kim-jongils-halfbrother-under-house-arrest-because-he-looks-like-father-20110704-1gxtq.html#ixzz1R5OJ9SMS