Jong-un never met Chinese bigwigs: legislator

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Jong-un never met Chinese bigwigs: legislator

A South Korean lawmaker said Chinese officials scoffed at recent reports that the designated successor to North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, his son Jong-un, had been welcomed by Chinese officials on a recent trip there.

According to Grand National Party Representative Gu Sang-chan, who recently visited China, an official told him, “Kim Jong-un may have accompanied his father on the [August] trip and visited memorial sites related to [North Korean founding leader] Kim Il Sung, but there were no meetings with high-ranking Chinese officials.”

“There has never been a political visit by Kim Jong-un to China,” the official said, according to Gu.

In August, when Kim Jong-il made a surprise visit to China and met with President Hu Jintao, some reports said that his son had also been greeted by Chinese officials, suggesting extremely warm relations between the two countries and Beijing’s acceptance of a third-generation power succession in North Korea.

According to the GNP lawmaker, Chinese officials ridiculed media outlets in South Korea and Japan for reporting “wrong facts with unconfirmed information.”

In fact, according to Gu, Kim Jong-il kept his son in the shadows deliberately because he felt the Chinese government was not too keen on the idea of a third-generation succession. If true, it would support some analysts’ theories that there was conflict beneath the surface between China and North Korea on the anointment of the young, inexperienced heir.

Meanwhile, North Korea’s government is ramping up efforts to build a personality cult around Kim Jong-un with a picture book, Gu said, citing North Korean sources.

The book will be distributed to citizens nationwide soon, according to Gu. The book emphasizes the young heir’s legitimacy through his blood line and his relation to Kim Il Sung.

The book states that Kim Jong-un was raised by his aunt, Kim Kyong-hui, and ignores his mother, Ko Young-hee, who was of Japanese descent - a fact obscured by the North Korean government. Japanese immigrants in North Korea have low status and their loyalty to the state is generally doubted. The fact that Kim Jong-un’s mother was Japanese is possibly his weakest point politically.

According to Gu, giving Kim Kyong-hui, who is Kim Jong-il’s younger sister, the status of a four-star general in late September - on the same day that Jong-un got the same rank - was part of the government’s plan make her the heir’s publicly accepted mother figure.

By Kang Chan-ho, Christine Kim []
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