Reform in Stalinist North Korea would come at a price

North Korean founder Kim Il Sung (left) with son Kim Jong Il

A new book claims Kim il-Sung, the father of Kim Jong-il and grandfather of current North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, ordered officials to shoot his successor if he ever tried to lead the country away from its Stalinist system.

Ra Jong-yil, the former head of South Korea’s national intelligence service, claims he was told about Kim il-Sung’s plan by a Pyongyang insider, who described how the inner circle were handed the guns and ordered to assassinate Kim Jong-il if he tried to change how the country is run.

Mr Ra told the Sunday Telegraph: ”Kim Il-sung had seen by the experiences of the Soviet Union what would happen if you start reforming or meddling with a dysfunctional system. The whole system inevitably collapses. He could not let that happen”.

Mr Ra’s new book, The Path Taken by Jang Song-thack: A Rebellous Outsider, also claims Kim Jong-il wanted to end the hereditary system of rule which made Kim Jong-un his successor. Instead, the book argues, he wanted the country to be ruled by a committee of 10, but because he died in 2011 before he could set the wheels in motion, his plans never came to fruition.

The book is named after Jang Song-thack, the uncle who helped Kim Jong-un through the first months of his dictatorship after the death of his father. Mr Jang was executed in December 2013 on charges including “gnawing at the unity and cohesion of the party” and “dreaming different dreams”.

[Daily Mail]

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