South Korean Minister of National Defense Kim Kwan Jin stated yesterday, “Inner society is not in a normal condition and anything could happen.” In advance of this statement, the Director of the National Intelligence Service Won Sei Hoon said, on the 22nd of last month, “Due to Kim Jong Eun’s consecutive failures in policy, his leadership has been damaged and the public sentiment is alienated from him.” Both high officials’ voices spoke from the same platform.
Some experts point out North Korea’s systematic crisis, including economic crisis, and others point out weakened leadership caused by Kim Jong Il’s decrepitude and health problems as the causes.
Meanwhile, Kim Jong Eun’s leadership has not yet been stabilized. South Korean intelligence officials diagnose that as a ramification of the currency redenomination; the 100,000 house construction project in Pyongyang; and the Yeonpyeong Island shelling, there is an increasing number of cadres who question Kim Jong Eun’s leadership.
Last month former U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair predicted that there would be power struggles in the process of succession after Kim Jong Il’s death. Blair said, “With such a suspicious and paranoid character as Kim Jong Il, I doubt it will be a very smooth and trouble-free process. I would imagine there would be bumps on the road.”
In addition to that, there are several rumors of a purge within the cadres’ world. Ryu Kyung, the Vice Director of the National Security Agency and Ju Sang Sung, Director of the People’s Safety Ministry, who the heads of two vital organs protecting the Kim Jong Il regime, were purged. Early this year, Director of Railways, Kim Yong Sam, was executed.
It is a well-known fact that when a leader of a significant organ is executed, numerous cadres directly and indirectly related to him/her are treated in the same way.
In addition to that, cadres in their 50s and 60s have been replaced with those in their 40s across the country. Thereafter the atmosphere caused by this series of purges and executions has been uneasy and the relative amount of discontent at this situation has also been serious.
There is a likelihood of an eruption of public complaints, even though the South Korean administration wants to exclude it from their scenario.
Since the currency redenomination middle class people, who used to play the role as a safety pin for the regime, have become those who have grudge against the regime.
It is hard to foresee that a popular uprising can be systematically organized. But once power struggles happen, the final strike may be implemented by civil power.
There is the possibility that complaints regarding peoples’ dire livelihood may develop into an uprising targeting the Kim regime. Graffiti on the wall of a college in Pyongyang was found to denounce Kim Jong Il and praise Park Chung Hee’s achievements.
Although Minister Kim said that the regime’s grip was still strong while warning that the North’s society was not stable, inside sources deliver reports that criticisms even from provinces have increased stating that, “What has the regime done for us?” However, they also report to The Daily NK that the number of agents from NSA, who tend to neglect this people’s attitude, has increased.