NIC: Kim Jong-un in charge of intelligence

According to the Joong Ang Daily:

The son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is even more clearly on the fast track to becoming his father’s successor, with the South Korean intelligence agency revealing Tuesday during a session of the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee that Kim Jong-un is currently head of North Korea’s State Security Department.

The State Security Department is an autonomous bureau directly under Kim Jong-il’s command and has often been referred to as the “secret police.” The department was separated from the regular police force in 1973. The department has been known to have great power over the lives of ordinary North Korean citizens and is thought to be behind severe violations of human rights.

Kim Jong-un’s involvement with the secret police is believed to date back to April 2009, when South Korean intelligence sources said he ordered a sting on a vacation house frequented by his older brother, Kim Jong-nam.

The house had been occupied by people supporting Kim Jong-il’s eldest son and the secret police’s abrupt crackdown was in order for Kim Jong-un to gain the upper hand in the power struggle between the brothers. Those who were at the house were dragged away by the State Security Department, according to sources. Kim Jong-nam was not at the scene.

The position of State Security Department chief has been empty since the death of the last security head, Rhee Jin-su, in 1987. The South Korean intelligence agency believes that Kim Jong-il took over the department himself after Rhee’s death.

Experts believe this powerful position was handed over to Kim Jong-un to hone him for his ascension.

“The position will suit the young successor well in order for him to take control of the Workers’ Party and the North Korean military’s elite,” said Cheong Seong-chang of the Sejong Institute, indicating that Kim Jong-il’s plans are for the son to receive his successor training in private, which would explain why Kim Jong-un has not received additional positions since last September.

The father and son were also reported by North Korea’s official news agency to have made a visit to the secret police headquarters on April 15, founder Kim Il Sung’s birthday.

The South Korean government is keeping a careful watch on the situation but was unable to confirm the report.

“As North Korean media have not said anything about appointing anyone to the position, it is difficult to confirm it,” Lee Jong-joo, spokeswoman of the South Korean Ministry of Unification said yesterday.

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Kim Jong-un in charge of intelligence: Source
Joong Ang Daily
Christine Kim


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