Kim Jong Chol leading anti-corruption campaign in North Hamgyong

North Korea’s anti-corruption campaigns have been thoroughly covered by North Korean Economy Watch (see here).  It is possible that these campaigns are simply efforts to stem financial leakages within the complex North Korean bureaucracy–making sure money continues to roll up hill.  It is more likely, however, that there is a political motivation behind them. 

In the past, we have speculated that these anti-corruption campaigns could be setting the stage for a purge, which is necessary before any serious policy change can occur within North Korea’s socialist system.  We have also speculated that these campaigns are related to the succession issue (who will take over after Kim Jong il).  Kim Jong il’s family members are disproportionately represented in party and government organizations, not the military.  After years of songun politics, in which the military was in ascention, it is now time to reign in their business operations and bring them under the scrutiny/control of the party and government (Kim’s family). 

Three weeks ago, we learned that Jang Song Taek (Kim Jong il’s brother-in-law) was running the campaign from Sinuiju.  Today, the Daily NK reports that Kim Jong il’s son, Kim Jong Chol (the Eric Clapton fan), has been running a parallel campaign in North Hamgyong Province.  Jang and Kim III have been mentioned as possible successors to Kim Jong il, and the fact that both of them are competing so directly leads the Daily NK to speculate that Kim Jong il is watching to see who is more adept at these tasks.

According to the Daily NK, Kim’s son is not doing well.  His anti-corruption campaign merely stoked local resentment, so he and his team were pulled before anybody knew Kim III was in charge.  Jang’s efforts in Sinuiju, however, seem to have been greeted with admiration.  If this is the case, things are looking up for Jang at the moment.

Details and the full story can be found here:
Kim Jong Cheol Left off the Inspection Due to Absence of Leadership
Daily NK
Moon Sung Hwee


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