North reminds China how to embrace successor

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North reminds China how to embrace successor

North Korea aired a two-hour documentary on a visit Kim Jong-il made to China not long after he had been named successor to his father, possibly to nudge Beijing into more explicitly endorsing his son as the next North Korean leader, analysts said.

In the lengthy broadcasting on Oct. 15 by North Korea’s official television station, Kim Jong-il was seen making his first solo visit to China in June 1983, from his arrival in Dandong to his departure from Beijing. Three years earlier, in October 1980, Kim was officially named successor to his father Kim Il Sung. Until the documentary was shown, only partial details of his trip had been disclosed to the public.

During the visit, Kim Jong-il met with then-leader of China Deng Xiaoping; General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Hu Yaobang; and Premier Zhao Ziyang. In the documentary, Chinese leaders were shown personally serving Kim food at banquets.

Analysts said the documentary is probably a way of requesting Beijing to invite Kim Jong-un, now the official successor to his father, to make a formal visit to show China’s acceptance of him.

It was broadcast six days after senior Chinese Communist Party leader Zhou Yongkang visited Pyongyang to commemorate the 65th anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s Workers’ Party.

Kim Jong-un received high-ranking posts in the party as well as a four-star general position in September and October.

Other analysts are examining Jong-un’s appointment to the new post of vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party on Sept. 28. They wonder if there is any connection to the promotion of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping to vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission on Oct. 18.


By Jeong Yong-soo [christine.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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