Four years following a series of re-organizing, executions, and eliminations, Kim Jong-un will be formally instated as North Korea’s supreme leader at a ruling party congress later this week.
This marks the first gathering of its kind for almost 40 years, and the event is more like a coronation which will recognize Jong-un as leader and the “legitimate inheritor of the dynastic dictatorship” that was initiated by his grandfather, Kim Il-sung, then passed down through by his now deceased father, Kim Jong-il.
The Associated French Press relays words of John Delury, a North Korean expert who is stationed at Yonsei University in Seoul.
“This congress means everything for Kim Jong-Un. It is the most public, historic setting in which he can demonstrate that he is fully in charge, and that everyone follows his orders. Nominally, it’s for the party, but really this congress is for Kim.”
Kim was not yet alive in 1980 when the last congress was held, which crowned his father as the inheritor of the dynasty from founder Kim Il-sung.
— AFP news agency (@AFP) May 1, 2016
Skepticism was the main perception following the death of Kim Jong-il. There were many doubters who did not believe that Kim Jong-un was up for the challenge to take over such a dictatorship. The AFP reminds of the shared perception of Kim when his father passed back in 2011.
“When his own turn came, following the death of Kim Jong-Il in December 2011, there were numerous doubters who suggested the Swiss finishing school graduate lacked the survival skills needed for the Machiavellian world of North Korean power politics.”
However, as Yahoo News relays, Kim proved them wrong and did not tread lightly when it came to dealing with those who were in opposition to his rise to the role of leader. The dictator purged the party, the government, and military of all who showed disloyalty to the now 33-year-old. The path to ultimate leadership even involved Kim executing his uncle, Jang Song-Thaek, a powerful member of the party and at one point a political mentor to his nephew.
— NK NEWS (@nknewsorg) May 1, 2016
The young leader also has demonstrated that he has his own agenda and is not out to follow simply in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. The publication notes the different tactics Jong-un has taken when it comes to military pursuits and weapons testing.
“He also adjusted his father’s ‘songun’, or military first policy, to a ‘byungjin’ policy of pursuing nuclear weapons in tandem with economic development.The nuclear half of that strategy has dominated the run-up to the party congress, starting with a fourth nuclear test in January that was followed by a long-range rocket launch and a flurry of other missile and weapons tests.”
Victor Cha, Korean Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), states the reasons for this bold policy change that has made North Korea a constant threat to the rest of the world.
“The objective of all that was clear from the start. It was a race to have a credible nuclear deterrent in place, as a crowning achievement, before the congress opens.”
Kim Jong-un was, therefore, ensuring he flexed his muscles and had an upper hand on the world military stage before taking full leadership. However, there have been a string of missile weapons test failures in the recent past that take away from the bold move by the dictator.
In Kim Jong-un’s first address to his nation, he was sure to state his intentions for his people. That being that North Koreans would “never have to tighten their belts again.” Kim’s most recent addresses all point to his intentions to raise living standards in the nation.
There is no question that Kim Jong-un has demonstrated his ability to take over such a ruthless dictatorship.
[Photo by AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File]