The chances of Kim Jong-un, the heir apparent of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, succeeding as the next leader are "less than 10 percent," a journalist claimed.
Kim Young-hwan, the editor of Zeitgeist magazine, made the claim on Tuesday in a keynote speech at a seminar sponsored by the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights. "The chances of a smooth succession by Kim Jong-un are less than 10 percent," he said, while the odds of confusion or a fatal crisis after the death of Kim Jong-il are "60-70 percent."
He said Kim Jong-un has few close supporters except his paternal aunt Kim Kyong-hui who will give him truthful advice. "If Kim Jong-il dies soon, it is doubtful if Kim junior will be able to establish his power and authority."
When Kim Jong-il succeeded to his father Kim Il-sung, core party leaders who were erstwhile freedom fighters like Kim Il and Choe Hyon, treated Jong-il as their nephew and offered him frank and friendly advice, the editor explained. But Jong-un is a sort of princeling of a feudal dynasty and lacks genuine advisers.
The editor also said, "Because Kim Jong-un studied abroad or attended special schools at home like Kim Il Sung Military University, he has had little opportunity to get to know and form relationships with the sons of other leaders." If Kim senior does not die soon, the editor said Kim Jong-un could come into conflict with Kim senior, whose judgment and concentration are waning with age and illness.
Others warn that young North Koreans may not accept the dynastic succession. Son Kwang-ju, editor-in-chief of the NK Daily, said, "It's unlikely the North's third-generation dynastic succession will settle into a secure and sustainable system."