Kim Jong-un 'Pissed' While Purging?
Drawing upon a report in the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun, Korean reporters Kim Hyun-ki and Kim Hee-jin (JoongAng Daily, December 23, 2013) tell us that "[Kim] Jong-un [was] drunk when he ordered some purges," starting with the two aides Ri Ryong-ha and Jang Su-gil, who worked under his Uncle Jang Song-thaek:
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was drunk when he ordered the execution of two aides close to his uncle Jang Song-thaek, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Saturday . . . . [In turn, t]he Yomiuri cited a source that claimed Ri Ryong-ha, the first deputy director of the administrative department of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, and Jang Su-gil, a deputy director of the department, were executed because they did not immediately follow an order by Kim to hand over their control of a profitable business to the military . . . . [Apparently,] when Kim made the order, Ri and Jang responded that they first had to report to director Jang -- the man in charge of the administrative department -- which made the young leader "upset" . . . . [Reportedly, w]hen Kim ordered the execution of the two aides, he was "very drunk," the source told the Yomiuri.Kim Jong-un appears to have been pissed in both colloquial senses of the word, namely, "drunk" and "angry." The Yomiuri Shimbun (December 21, 2013) itself, translated from the Japanese by the Korean Open Source Digest (Volume VI, Issue 247, December 23, 2013), offers the same view: "Failure By Aides to Chang [i.e., Jang Song-thaek] To Immediately Carry Out Kim Jong Un's Order Infuriates Kim":
The two subordinates were Ri Ryong-ka, first deputy director of the Administration Department, and Chang Su-kil, deputy director of the same department. According to the source, they did not quickly respond to the instruction by saying, "We need to report this to Director Chang." An enraged Kim Jong Un ordered their execution though he was "dead drunk" at the time, the source said.I'd consider altering "though" to "because." My grandfather once told me there were two kinds of drunks, the happy sort and the angry sort. Kim Song-un seems to belong to the latter category, but his impulsive character seemingly accounts for his abrupt orders, regardless whether he is drunk or not, as we see from the Yomiuri Shimbun's further report:
Touching on Kim Jong Un's alleged instruction, a South Korean government official said: "He tends to give instructions on impulse and without taking into account the reality. We doubt if he can maintain unifying power." According to concerned officials, Kim Jong Un issued an order to plant lawn[s] on the yards of citizens' residences to make the yards look like ones he saw in Switzerland during his stay in the country for study, although those [North Korean] yards are used as precious food[-]supplying fields for residents. He also ordered [underlings] to install parking lots on the premises of apartments to be built in Pyongyang by claiming, "An era of private vehicles has come." Further, WPK cadres were allegedly appalled when they heard Kim saying, "We can solve our food shortages if we eat meat instead of rice."And cake instead of bread. Assuming that all these reports are true (and I do have some skepticism), then baby-faced Kim Jong-un lacks the smarts for the calculations necessary toward retaining and maintaining power. His immaturity and lack of self-control, exacerbated by appalling ignorance, suggests that he is not long for this world, for there are -- waiting from the sidelines and calculating their odds -- those in full possession of what the young Kim lacks.
And they will be ruthless with him . . .