Kim: Fathoming the Dying Injunctions
The Kaesong Industrial Complex, held up in some quarters as a “last bastion” of inter-Korean cooperation from a bygone age, is seriously wounded and may even be facing death. With evidence emerging yesterday to suggest that Kim Jong Il planned the closure of the Complex before his own passing in 2011, NKnet researcher Kim Young Hwan today offered his thoughts on the future of the Korean Peninsula at a seminar event in Seoul.
“The most important thing for those seeking to know the direction and aim of inter-Korean relations, North Korea-China relations and the North Korean leadership are the ‘last instructions [dying injunctions] of Kim Jong Il,’” Kim explained. “It is extremely likely that Kim Jong Il proposed appropriate levels of military and political tension in his last instructions.”
“If we analyze the activities of Kim Jong Il right before his death, we can try to discern these last instructions,” Kim proposed, noting that, immediately prior to his death, Kim Jong Il appeared to be focusing on improving economic relations with China and raising the level of provocations targeting South Korea.
Kim had, he noted, “visited China four times in the year and a half since May 2010. This was very surprising.”
As a counterpoint to that, therefore, “If North Korea were indeed keen to promote an active opening to China, they would need to keep the distance from and maintain tension with South Korea, which could present a big threat to them,” he said.
“The fundamental threats to the North Korean system are the North Korean people and the North Korean military,” he concluded. “North Korea must have thought that the only way to move public and military opinion was to use South Korea.” Therefore, both closer relations with China and tensions with South Korea were part of Kim’s last instructions, Kim said.
- "I called my dad to tell him there was going to be a shortage of Choco Pies and the price would be going up," he said. "I told him he should go to China and buy as many as he could find. That he should make a good profit."
- All of this left me extremely confused.
- "I'm sorry," I said, "you just said you called your father. Where is your father?"
- "He's in North Korea," he said.
- "And how did you call him?"
- "On his mobile phone," he replied, as if this was the most normal thing in the world.
- "Sorry, your father has a mobile phone in North Korea that can receive international calls?"
- "Oh yes," he said. "It is a Chinese phone. He lives near the border so he can get on the Chinese network."
- "And how common is this?" I asked.
- "Very common. Everyone along the border has them. They need them for doing trade with China."
- "But could he not get in to trouble?" I asked.
- "Look," he said, "there are 50,000 North Koreans crossing backwards and forwards in to China to trade. There are another 100,000 living in China doing business. What's Pyongyang going to do? It could not survive without the trade."