[Although the title highlights the recent dismissal of KPA chief Vice-marshal Ri Yong Ho, this opinion piece by Canadian columnist Gwynne Dyer compares Kim Jong Un’s hereditary accession to leadership in the DPRK to the likely scenario of another hereditary leader becoming the next president of South Korea. Gwynne Dyer is a London-based independent journalist whose articles are published in 45 countries. –CanKor]
What has been happening in North Korea recently is straight out of the Hereditary Dictatorship for Dummies handbook. Kim Jong-un, the pudgy young heir to the leadership of one of the world’s last Communist states, is removing powerful people who were loyal to his father and replacing them with men (it’s always men) who owe their advancement only to him.
Vice-Marshal Ri Yong-ho, the chief of the North Korean army until late last week, was not disloyal to the new boss. On the contrary, Ri’s support was vital in ensuring a smooth transition after the death of Kim Jong-Il, the old boss, and he gave it unstintingly. But in the end the vice-marshal didn’t owe everything to Kim Jong-un, so he had to go.
In his place, Kim Jong-un has promoted a man nobody had ever heard of before. His name is Hyon Yong-chol, but you don’t have to remember it unless you really want to. The point is that Hyon will have annoyed a lot of other generals in the army because he has been promoted over their heads, and so he is absolutely dependent on the good will of the young master. Read the rest of this entry »