» 11/17/2010, 00.00
Kim the “third” to thin out party ranks
Joseph Yun Li-sun
Like his father, a ruthless Kim Jong-un launches an “anti-corruption” campaign to consolidate his hold on power. “Senior officials are trembling with fear because they don't know where heads are going to roll,” a source says.
Seoul (AsiaNews) – After floods and another famine, North Korea is in for more troubles. Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s third child and heir, has begun purging government and party ranks. Under the guise of an anti-corruption campaign, North Korea’s 27-year-old heir apparent is carrying out a personal vendetta against local cadres. He is not waiting around for his father to die to consolidate his power.
On his orders, police raided party offices and arrested party officials suspected of corruption. The crackdown began in the northeastern province of North Hamkyong, on the border with China, the Seoul-based North Korea Intellectuals Solidarity reported.
According to the North Korean defectors' group, 15 senior border officials were arrested and charged with bribery, smuggling activities and turning a blind eye to people fleeing the country.
"This is a purge for generational change . . . . Senior officials are trembling with fear because they don't know where heads are going to roll," a spokesperson for the group said.
The young Kim is following in the footsteps of his elder, who reportedly had people executed in the 1990s every time problems proved too difficult to handle.
In 1997, the ‘dear leader’ had So Kwan-hi, then party secretary in charge of agricultural affairs, shot for the famine the dictator created. More than a million people died at the time.
Similarly, Pak Nam-gi, the then director of the party Planning and Finance Department, was executed in March to pay for his botched currency reform of November 2009.
The ruthlessness of the young Kim is probably why Kim Jong-il appointed him deputy party secretary and deputy president of the Central Military Commission, choosing him over other sons and pretenders to the throne of Pyongyang.
As AsiaNews reported some months ago, Kim the younger carried out a campaign of violence and intimidation against his brothers and aunt, a fact that impressed Kim Jong-il.
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