AGI – Regime maneuvers in Pyongyang aimed at preparing the field for a possible “worst case scenario”: death or a serious illness of Kim Jong Un. In practice, they were created two new top figures – completely unheard of in the history of North Korea – whose purpose would be to allow the supreme leader to delegate power. With the ultimate aim of guaranteeing the country’s stability in the event of an institutional tsunami at its top. According to Nk News, the Workers’ Party of Korea approved a new internal regulation at its congress in January.
The document – which the website that collects information on North Korea has now come into possession of – “clearly indicates that Kim Jong-un and his inner circle believe they are going through a period of great difficulty”. In particular, “articles 26 and 28 of the new statute introduce significant and unprecedented institutional adjustments aimed at preparing for a potential emergency that concerns Kim himself”.
The figure of the “first secretary”
The first article, explains NkNews, introduces the figure of the “first secretary” of the workers’ party, in an unprecedented form: although theoretically covered by Kim between 2012 and 2018, it was a simple ‘job description’ of the supreme leader, modified not by chance in the most resonant position of general secretary. But according to the site based in Seoul, the text of the new regulation makes it clear that the first secretary from now on will be the deputy of the general secretary.
“To make a comparison – writes NkNews – it is as if North Korea suddenly introduced the equivalent of the vice president to its leaders. This is an unusual fact: no other communist party in power has ever formally defined a position of a second in command, that is, of a real one supreme leader waiting“.
Article 28, on the other hand, describes the functions of the Politburo Standing Committee: composed of five people, in practice it is the highest executive body in the country. The new definition now explicitly states that any member of the Committee can chair a Politburo meeting if that is the decision of the Secretary General. “In other words,” the site adds, “the two articles create something we have never seen before: a clearly defined and formalized structure that allows Kim to delegate her power and avoid her direct participation in the daily affairs of the state. “.
The risk of long-term disability
According to NkNews analysts, “these moves have only one logical explanation: the leadership has begun to make preparations for the sudden death or, more likely, the leader’s long-term inability to govern”. From a practical point of view, Kim is henceforth able to indicate a person who will automatically take over his offices if circumstances require. In addition, the supreme leader can put committee members to assume full executive office.
“The decision probably indicates that Kim’s health is not good”, reiterates NkNews, who speaks of “numerous indirect evidence pointing in this direction”. On April 15 last year, for example, the supreme leader did not attend the celebrations for the birthday of his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, a pivotal event in the official North Korean holiday cycle, “a bit like an American president did not attend Independence day “. Over the next three months, Kim essentially went out of sight at the very few public events: in rare cases, he only showed up behind closed doors, where he was only seen by a handful of senior officials.
Since last May, the supreme leader has been completely absent for another month, and his last appearance took place only in a meeting of the Politburo, the few images of which have been disseminated exclusively through the state media. Meanwhile, speculations, as always happens when we talk about North Korea, are running.