The process of seizing power by the unveiled ‘young Kim Jong-un’


◀ Anchor Kim Pil-guk ▶

The funeral of Hyun Chol-hae, general advisor of the Ministry of National Defense, who was in charge of the succession education of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, became a hot topic recently.

◀ Anchor Cha Mi-yeon ▶

Yes, Chairman Kim carried the coffin himself and shed tears.

Last week, a new documentary film about Hyun Cheol-hae was aired.

However, it is said that this film contains the process of preparing the successor of Chairman Kim, which has been veiled.

◀ Anchor Kim Pil-guk ▶

Long before Chairman Kim Jong-un was officially appointed as the successor in 2009, he received all reports from the military and made a decision to Chairman Kim Jong-il at the time.

Based on this documentary film, reporter Choi Yoo-chan looked at how Kim Jong-un seized power.

◀ Report ▶

Hyeon-cheol-hae’s hospital room,

Chairman Kim Jong-un watches his beating heartbeat on a monitor and guards his deathbed.

[김정은 발언 中]

“Comrade Hyeon-cheol-hae, I’m here, please open your eyes, are you going to leave like this forever?”

The relationship with Hyeon Cheol-hae, who was so special that he shed tears and wore his coffin himself, is also revealed in the letters he exchanged with him.

[김정은 편지 대독]

“This ‘Eun-i Jeong’ has never forgotten her comrade for even a single moment in a day.”

This documentary film reveals important clues in establishing a succession system for Chairman Kim, along with the relationship between Chairman Kim Jong-un and Hyeon Chol-hae, who were so special that he called himself ‘Jung Eun-i’.

In September 2010, 27-year-old Kim Jong-un became the general of the People’s Army, the vice-chairman of the Party Central Military Commission, and a member of the Party Central Committee, and officially became his successor.

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The succession system was declared two years after his father, Chairman Kim Jong-il, suddenly collapsed from a stroke.

[정성장/세종연구소 북한연구센터장]

“(In 2008) Kim Jong-il knew that he would only have three years to live, so he began to work on a succession…”

However, this documentary shows that successor work has been going on much earlier than this.

This boy is holding the hand next to the smiling young Hyeon Cheol-hae.

This is young Kim Jong-un in his early teens, at most in his mid-teens.

Hyeon Chol-hae had an intuition early on that Chairman Kim Jong-un was the third-generation heir.

[현철해 발언 中]

“A sense of relief that we have the true spirit of the Baekdu lineage, and the conviction that there is no worry about the succession of Yeongdo, the last generation of the revolution.”

Hyeon Chol-hae oversees Kim Jong-un’s succession classes and political career that began in the military.

[현철해 발언 中]

“Comrade Kim Jong-un should take charge of our military work. Let’s entrust our military work entirely to the young leader.”

It seems that Chairman Kim began to take control of the military as his successor in the mid-2000s.

This is a reference book for teachers who idolize Chairman Kim Jong-un published by North Korea in 2014.

At the end of 2006, when he was 23, Chairman Kim Jong-un graduated from the military academy and at the same time gave a speech at a gathering of commanding officers of the People’s Army.

Chairman Kim Jong-il announced his son to the military as de facto successor.

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By this time, Hyeon Chol-hae already regards Kim Jong-un as the supreme leader of the military, second only to Kim Jong-il.

[현철해 발언 中]

“For a long time, warriors have been open to comrade Kim Jong-un, reporting all issues without hesitation and reporting every ten million incidents of our revolutionary armed forces. I did”

[정성장/세종연구소 북한연구센터장]

“When Kim Jong-il was decided as the successor of Kim Il-sung within the North Korean party in 1974, all reports going up to Kim Il-sung from then on go up through Kim Jong-il. You must have taken the lead in doing so.”

It was in 2009 that news of Kim Jong-un’s internal affairs began to spread to the outside world.

Although he appeared in public as a successor in 2010, Chairman Kim Jong-un was already standing tall as the successor by taking control of the North Korean military under the leadership of Hyon Chol-hae long before that.

Since then, Chairman Kim Jong-un spearheaded North Korea’s military actions, including nuclear tests and missile launches, until his father’s death.

[기록영화/ 백두의 선군혁명위업을…]

“This time, it was our Captain Kim who counter-attacked the enemy’s maneuver to intercept artificial satellites, and he commanded the land, sea and air forces as the counter-attack commander.”

Another noteworthy part of the documentary film Hyeon Chul-hae is that he led the ‘military purge’.

In 1969, Kim Jong-il assumed succession power by purging the military leader Kim Chang-bong and others, and placing the military under the control of the Labor Party.

It is highly likely that Hyeon Chol-hae also led the massive military purge and water change in the early days of power immediately after Kim Jong-il’s death and succession as the third Kim Jong-un.

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[조한범/통일연구원 선임연구위원]

“Chairman Kim Jong-un was able to seize the military power only by weakening the military of the bloated military-first politics, and when it appears that Chairman Kim Jong-un was the first to recognize the need to purge the military, which has been bloated by the military-first politics, which is the most stumbling block. You can see it this way, who was at the forefront.”

In the background of Chairman Kim Jong-un’s exceptional order to make a documentary film by himself, it is a tribute to Hyun Cheol-hae, a guardian who held his hand and led the military since childhood, created a power base within the military, and created authority and career.

The biography of Hyeon Chul-hae revealed that there was thorough and meticulous preparation for a long time behind the background of the young boy becoming the supreme leader in his 20s and solidifying his position as an absolute power for 11 years.

This is Choi Yoo-chan from the Unification Observatory.


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