Consider from our vantage point high over Pyongyang, North Korea, on this pleasant Saturday morning, on the occasion of the celebration of the 65th Anniversary of the founding of the communist regime’s ruling Workers Party, that we have the good fortune to witness a lavish parade; a festivity featuring a stirring display of tanks and long-range missiles. The missiles we see are on tractors caring signs denouncing the United States of America; signs reading “Defeat the U.S. Military” and “U.S. Soldiers are the Korean People’s Army’s Enemy”. Today is Saturday, October 9, 2010; the parade of weaponry and soldiers moves under the approving gaze of the ageing President of North Korea, the current reigning monarch, 68 year old Kim Jong ll, and of his rosy cheeked son, the 27 year old Kim Jong Un, who spontaneously waves and is thoroughly enjoying the spectacle.
The celebration below us is at the stadium at Kim ll Sung Square, named after the father of the now reigning President. “The God King”, Kim ll Sung founded the present North Korean Nation. The religion of North Korea is Juche; this religion worships Kim ll Sung. Indeed, all North Koreans are required to worship Kim ll Sung “with all their heart and might”, even now, after his death. Kim ll Sung died in 1997; however he retains the title of “President” eternally.
The current President, Kim Jong ll, now overseeing the commemoration below, is dressed in his customary Khaki tunic suit. Many consider him, in the privacy of their hearts, to be an irrational power-hungry leader who allows his people to starve, while he enjoys dancing girls and cognac. He is in poor health, limping, and leaning on the balcony for support.
Some of the spectators are openly crying, seeing the father and his son together for the first time. The borders of North Korea have been closed to foreign media for the past 2 years, and now a select group of invited media is in front row seats, and like the Koreans, they finally see the old and new generations together. It is important that the world view the succession as going well, free from internal turmoil.
The younger Kim is wearing not a military uniform at the parade, but rather a dark blue suit similar to one he wore in photographs last month. At that time, attending a rare party conference, Swiss-educated Kim Jong-un was made a four-star general and given senior positions in the government and in the Workers’ Party. A spotlight is shone on the father and son; the crowd rises to its feet, cheering and applauding!
Not present on the reviewing stand is the President’s 64 year old sister, the wife of the second most powerful figure in North Korea, Chang Song-taelk. Now a four-star general, the first woman ever to achieve that status, Kim Kyung-hee is a very powerful woman. The President and his sister are known to be very close; her name on the Central Committee of the Workers Party, we note, is listed ahead of Kim Jong-un’s and there is speculation that a power struggle may ensue after Kim Jong-ll’s death, when Kim Kyung-hee may try to seize the reins; to seize control of the Nation of North Korea.
The Parade of weaponry and thousands of goose-stepping soldiers will continue amid the banners and flags of the plaza into the evening, Brass bands will play the “Song of General Kim Jong Il” and other songs. It is expected that young Kim Jong-un will take the nation of 24 million into a third generation. His will be the challenge of managing the nation’s nuclear weapons program, and overseeing the ongoing struggle to revive the failing North Korean economy. Indications are that he will continue in the direction established by his father.
It would be a privilege to see the future, to know the changes that will follow the eventual death of the Korean President. Unfortunately, we do not have that privilege.