Kim Jong-un: Brilliant Comrade's First Brilliant Act?
An odd report has appeared in The Korea Times: "Kim Jong-nam Survived Assassination Attempt" (June 15, 2009). According to the report, which the Times got from the Korea Broadcasting System (KBS):
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's first son Kim Jong-nam survived an assassination attempt, according to South Korean news network KBS Monday.This is an odd report, and I'm inclined to doubt not only its accuracy but even its veracity. It seems unlikely to me that the young son Kim Jong-un, a mere 26 years, would have garnered enough power to attempt the assassination of his eldest brother, Kim Jong-nam. Even if 'Brilliant Comrade' Kim Jong-un has amassed sufficient power already, I can't imagine that his father, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, would be happy to find out about such an attempt (whether successful or not) even if Kim Jong-nam is a big fat embarrassment to the nation -- recall that in 2001, he was detained in Japan for trying to sneak into the country to visit Disneyland. Moreover, does anyone take Kim Jong-nam seriously as a potential leader for North Korea . . . so why even go to the trouble of trying to assassinate him? But even if Kim Jong-nam does have some support -- whether in North Korea or in China, or in both countries -- why risk embarrassing powerful China, North Korea's only 'friend'?
KBS reported that the attempt was spearheaded by aides of the North's heir apparent Kim Jeong-un [Kim Jong-un], the 26-year-old third son of Kim who was recently designated to succeed the North's head.
However, the plot that was tried out without the knowledge of Kim Jong-il failed as China foiled the attempt. KBS said Kim Jong-nam had maintained a close relationship with senior officials of China.
KBS said Kim Jong-nam could [sic: "was able to"] save his life with the help of China and added he might seek asylum in the world's most populous country [i.e., China].
The report thus raises many questions, but I see that The Chosun Ilbo, in "N.Korean Heir Apparent Linked to Assassination Plot" (June 16, 2009), is also reporting this and adds some details:
The plan was foiled when the Chinese government found out about it early last week. "The Chinese government warned North Korea to stop the assassination attempt, and sent intelligence and military officers to Macau and spirited Kim Jong-nam to a safe place," the sources said.However, The Chosun Ilbo is also citing KBS, so the source is the same as for The Korea Times. I'll wait for some other confirmation before I believe this. But the rumor alone is blogworthy, and if it turns out to be untrue, I'll nevertheless be proud to have done my part in a disinformation campaign aimed at undermining North Korea's odious nomenklatura.
And just to get into the act, let's amuse ourselves by imagining not only that there was an assassination attempt but that it also got just a little bit closer than has been reported, namely, that the aides actually reached Macau and managed to fire off a few shots at Kim Jong-nam, but missed, and that an exasperated young Kim Jong-un is even now confronting his aides in disbelief:
"You missed? You missed Kim Jong-nam? How could you possibly miss hitting Kim Jong-nam?"Missing an ample target like that would be hard to picture.