Disclaimer: The author does not have the knowledge to speak authoritatively on the following subject. So he’ll just speak on the following subject.
When the world isn’t concerned with more important issues like some voting irregularities in Iran or the demise of a world superstar or Michelle Obama’s toned arms, the media often spends its time trying to figure out another mystery: who will be Kim Jong-Il’s successor?
Because most people have no idea what the ruckus is about, I’ve kindly volunteered to write a list of possible candidates and why they will (or will not) be the next in line.
Kim Jong-Nam (b. 1971)
Relation: Kim Jong-Il’s first son by Song Hye-Rim, one-time mistress of Kim Jong-Il
Why he won’t be next in line: Aside from the fact that he was kept a secret for some time from Kim Il-Sung because the Great Leader disapproved of Kim Jong-Il’s affair with Ms. Song, Kim Jong-Nam, despite his striking resemblance to his father, has permanently lost his father’s good will after a particularly embarrassing incident in 2001 when he was deported from Japan after trying to go to Tokyo Disneyland on a fake passport. I mean, you really can’t blame him for wanting to go to Disneyland, that magnificent monument built in memory of capitalism incarnate and enemy of the Revolution Walt Disney. It’s the place where the fun never ends. But I digress. After that particular incident, Kim Jong-Il cancelled a planned visit to China because frankly, it was quite an embarrassing event. The South Koreans had some laughs and visited Disneyland just to spite North Korea. And because they can. Since then, Kim Jong-Nam has been hanging around Macau under the protection of the Chinese government and talking with Japanese news stations who really want to know who’s next in line. He doesn’t really seem to care though, so I don’t think he’ll be of any help. Great excuse for people to make fun of North Korea, though. He’s also the only one on the list with any sort of recent picture.
Kim Jong-Chul (b. 1981)
Relation: Second son of Kim Jong-Il, first son of Koh Young-Hee, the Respected Mother
Why he won’t be next in line: Kim Jong-Chul was largely speculated to be Kim Jong-Il’s successor a couple years back, with North Korea extending an official invitation to Eric Clapton to perform in North Korea due to Kim Jong-Chul being a huge fan of Slowhand (who isn’t?). The above picture is in fact one taken in 2006, when the above person was in Germany to attend an Eric Clapton concert. Coincidence? Possibly. But it was better than posting a picture of him as a child. Unfortunately, it seems that he is being passed over in favor of his younger brother, Jong-Un. Why? Well, according to Kim Jong-Il’s former chef Kenji Fujimoto, Kim Jong-Il thought that Jong-Chul was too “effeminate” to lead, and recent reports suggest that he may be suffering from some sort of chronic “hormone imbalance”. My guess is, that’s either the North Korean way of saying that he’s gay, or he actually needs a liver transplant like Steve Jobs.
Chang Sung-Taek (b. 1946)
Relation: Brother-in-law/right-hand man of Kim Jong-Il
Why he might be next in line: Chang Sung-Taek is essentially the Raul Castro of North Korea. Well, Raul Castro back when Fidel was in power. Basically, this man is currently the most powerful person in North Korea. He’s been pulling the strings ever since Kim Jong-Il’s health took a downward turn, and it would not be too much of a stretch to think that he’ll actually gain the position that he’s acting out right now. Most likely, however, he’ll be the power behind the throne once the next person on the list ascends to the chairmanship. After all, Kim Jong-Il seems like the egotistical maniac to attempt a Communist dynasty.
Kim Jong-Un (b. 1983)
Relation: Third son of Kim Jong-Il, second son of Koh Young-Hee
Why he might be next in line: Aside from the assumption that Kim Jong-Il would prefer one of his sons and his other two aren’t quite satisfactory, there are several signs that young Kim Jong-Un is indeed next in line. For example, earlier this year, it was reported that Kim Jong-Un had been appointed a mid-level position in the National Defense Commission, much like his father before him. Grooming, if you will. Also, official reports have started to refer to him as the Brilliant Comrade, which sounds suspiciously similar to the Great Leader or Dear Leader. It is most likely that considering his young age, if he becomes the next leader of North Korea, his uncle Chang Sung-Taek will act as a sort of regent until he is old enough.
Unfortunately, no one outside of North Korea (and some Chinese officials) know exactly what he looks like, so there has been a wild goose chase to obtain any sort of information on the fellow. The only certain thing that we know is that he exists. And he likes Michael Jordan, apparently. But the Japanese have an obsession with the fellow, and the Asahi network purportedly obtained a picture of his recent whereabouts and did a half-hour analysis of the picture, which actually turned out to simply be a South Korean lookalike of Kim Jong-Il that was considered quite funny in South Korean online communities. Naturally, the South Koreans laughed at this, the Chinese Foreign Ministry issued an official statement laughing at this, and Japanese television journalism had the second-greatest drop in credibility in the world this year. Second, because a TV station that focuses on a first lady’s arms obviously has the integrity of a Frenchman who claims that they deliberately invited the Germans in WWII so they could defeat them on French soil.
So in the end, I have no idea who’s going to be Kim Jong III or when. Most likely Kim Jong-Un, but who knows with these dictator-types?