Kim Jong-il 'Gets 20% of N.Korea's Budget for His Own Use'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il can freely dispose of 20 percent of his country's budget, a former secretary of North Korean Workers' Party has said that. Hwang Jang-yop told the Asahi Shimbun, "Only 30 percent of the budget is spent on public services, while 50 percent is earmarked for military spending." Hwang defected to South Korea in 1997.

Hwang was interviewed by the daily during his visit to Japan on April 4-8. "Kim Jong-il's dictatorship is 10 times worse than his father's. People have a painful life," he said.

Asked if the North is likely to abandon its nuclear weapons program, he said, "There is no such possibility. But the North won't use the weapons. They're a means to maintain the regime."

To the question why Kim's eldest son Jong-nam was passed over for the succession, he said, "At first, Kim Jong-il thought of choosing his eldest son as his successor. But he seems to have changed his mind as he fell in love with Ko Young-hee, the mother of Jong-un, his third son, after Jong-nam's mother Song Hye-rim died."

Commenting on the North's bizarre abductions of Japanese citizens in the 1970s and 80s, he said, "The North needed native Japanese to train agents who would work in Japan."

englishnews@chosun.com / Apr. 12, 2010 09:54 KST