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Kim Jon Il's three sons highly incapable of governing, analysts say

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
December 19th, 2011
Catholic Online (

While the leadership of North Korea will now ostensibly go to fallen leader's Kim Jong Il's youngest son, many observers of one of the world's foremost "hermit nations" says that all three of Kim's sons are incapable of leadership. One Chinese expert observed in 2006 that Kim Jong Il's oldest son, Kim Jong-nam, was "too much of a playboy" to be seriously considered, son #2 Kim Jong-chol was "more interested in video games" than governing, and Kim Jong-un --then just 23 in 2006 was simply too young.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Many analysts expect a collective leadership heavily reliant on the military to emerge after Kim Jong Il's death, his youngest son Kim Jong-un only as a figurehead.

In visibly failing health over the past few years, Kim Jong Il took only tentative steps to organize a succession. A Chinese scholar with high-level contacts in Beijing and Pyongyang acknowledged in 2009 that "no-one except Kim (Jong-il) himself knows who would succeed him."
Diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks suggest that Kim Jong-un was always closer to his father than were his older brothers. One from 2009 cites the memoirs of Kim Jong Il's former Japanese chef, Kenji Fujimoto, who said Kim Jong Il "adored Kim Jong-un for resembling himself, both in image and in personality," while another analyst described Kim Jong-un as "a bold and big-hearted person."

Another North Korean leader thought Kim Jong-chol was "too effeminate" to be a strong leader. He speculated that Kim Jong-chol "might have problems with the levels of estrogen in his system, as recent reports indicated that he exhibited female secondary sex characteristics."

Kim Jong-un emerged as the front-runner to succeed his father in 2009 when he began working as acting chairman of the National Defense Commission "to support his ailing father Kim Jong-il," according to a cable from June that year. 

Pyongyang then notified foreign missions of the unofficial nomination of Kim Jong-un as the heir apparent, and urged its people to call him "Captain Kim" and sing songs praising him.

It's not a done deal that "Captain Kim" will hold on to the reins of power. Jong Il had nearly twenty years to build a power base in the shadow of his father and North Korea's founder Kim Il Sung. 

By contrast, Kim Jong-un has had barely two years to garner any authority. "The issue North Korea now faces is how to create a smooth power transition for such an inexperienced individual," said one Korea-watcher last year.

A former national security Adviser in South Korea predicted the ruling elite would adopt the "Japan model" - with an imperial family acting as head of state, while real political power lay elsewhere, perhaps among a group of high-level military officers.

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