Thursday, February 18, 2010


For those who pine for the days in which knowledge of the political workings of the Soviet enemy was often gleaned from grainy photographs of the politburo, I give you Kim Kyông-hûi.

Sister of Kim Jong Il and wife of Chang Sang-t'aek, Kim Kyông-hûi would appear to be in a potential position of power. This is something that folks that watch North Korea have known for some time. So why the sudden interest? Enter the grainy photo.

followed by breathless commentary from the media.
Kim Jong-Il's only sister appears to be wielding more power in North Korea after making a comeback to the frontline of the regime last year, South Korea said Wednesday.

Kim Kyong-Hui, 64, was newly added to a diagram of the North's power structure released by the South's unification ministry after returning to the public spotlight for the first time in nearly six years.

The annually updated diagram, which offers a glimpse into changes in the North's elite power system, showed her heading an organ which oversees light industries under the ruling Workers' Party of Korea.

"Since her comeback, the sister has frequently accompanied Kim Jong-Il in his field inspections," ministry spokeswoman Lee Jong-Joo told AFP.

For Kim's (alleged) residence, see here.

For some more (and better informed) commentary (and another grainy photo), see here.

As for me, all of this puts me in the mood for some late Cold War music, Sting's "Russians" perhaps? Or I could always go for the soundtrack to Chess.

1 comment:

  1. Chess, definitely, but the British version. Or Billy Joel's "Stalingrad" is pretty good!

    I remember the shocked looks on my students faces back in the mid-90s when I told them that NK was a black box as far as our understanding of leadership, etc., that we honestly didn't know some of the most basic facts about how they worked. It's less true than it used to be, but still really stark.