CPBS news online, Beijing, December 17, via Sina.com. According to CPBS channel “Voice of China”, North Koreans from all walks of life commemorated the country’s previous leaders at Mansudae platform at the city center of Pyongyang, in front of the bronze statues of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. As today is the second anniversary of the death of former leader Kim Jong-il, the grand celebrations will continue today.
Journalists saw people clothed in quiet colors at the scene of mourning, holding flowers and looking sad, coming in to Mansudae from all directions, bowing deeply to the bronze statues, and putting the flowers in front of the statues, expressing their grief about Kim Jong-il’s death. An oath-taking ralleye will be held today for the North Korean People’s Army. So will North Korea still hold commemorations today? Xinhua’s correspondent Du Baiyu explains the latest situation:
North Korea’s People’s Army held a swearing-in ceremony on the square of Kumsusan Palace of the Sun yesterday, pleding to defend Kim Jong-un to their death, with ceremonies for the land forces, the navy, and the airforce respectively. People in charge of North Korea’s military force, troops of different ranks and cadres and students from military schools and others took part in the ceremony. Today, as the passing of previous leader Kim Jong-il is marked, the North Korean masses as well as some international organizations and consular staff etc. will go to Kumsusan Palace of the Sun, and North Korean masses will also put flowers to older bronze statues and portraits in North Korea to lay down flowers there.
在昨天，朝鲜人民军在平壤的锦绣山太阳宫广场举行了一场规模盛大的誓师大会，决心誓死保卫金正恩，在誓师大会上进行了人民军陆海空三军分列式行进。朝鲜的 人民武力部负责人、各级部队和军事学校的干部和学生等都参加了誓师大会。在今天，也就是朝鲜的前最高领导人金正日逝世两周年的日子里，朝鲜的群众和包括驻 朝的一些国际机构以及使馆等等都会去太阳宫，并且朝鲜的群众在这两天都会到朝鲜的旧的铜像以及画像前去献花。
Some foreign media speculate that after the demise of Jang Sung-taek, within the coverage of the commemorations, a new “Number Two” [behind Kim Jong-un] could be announced. However, [the Xinhua] journalist explains that there is no such talk about a “Number Two” personality, and that the North Korean people are simply united as one around their leader, loyal to the leader, which means loyalty to Kim Jong-un. As for the new political structure in North Korea, we may expect a report to the North Korean [Workers Party] Central Committee [or central authorities] today, and the seating order there deserves attention, as it may provide clues about the structures.
有外媒猜测说，张成泽被拿下后，在金正日逝世两周年的报告大会上，所谓新的”二号人物”可能揭晓。然而，记者介绍道，其实在朝鲜国内没有所谓的二号人物一 说，朝鲜人民只是对领袖的一心团结，忠诚于领袖也就是只忠诚金正恩。关于朝鲜的新的政治架构，在今天我们预计会有一场朝鲜的中央报告大会，大会上的座次是 值得关注的，从中或许可以看出朝鲜政治架构的端倪。
There have been many media analysts who said that the participation of the highest DPRK officials at the mourning activities today would provide the outside world with the best possible window to observe North Korea’s trends. However, Yang Xiyu, Northeast Asia issues expert at the China Institute of International Studies, sees it differently. In his view, the media misread the so-called “Number Two personality”:
Yang Xiyu: Rumours in the media, including foreign media, that Jang Song-taek was the “number two” are definitely not accurate. No matter if actually or nominally, his position wasn’t that of a number two. He was only promoted from candidate status to full membership of the politburo to full membership during Kim Jong-uns era. North Korea’s real Number-Two personality is Choe Ryong-hae, who was exceptionally promoted to permanent membership status at the politburo, while the two others are 84 and 85 years old, and their membership is of honorary nature. The only two real full members are Kim Jong-un and Choe Ryong-hae. No matter what the line-up will be like during the commemoration activities, I believe that the director of the general political bureau of the People’s Army, Choe Ryong-hae, remains North Korea’s number-two personality.
杨希雨：其实我们媒体包括外媒的传言“张成泽是二号”这个肯定是不对的，张成泽无论从实际地位还是从名义地位都没有坐过二号，而且恰恰是金正恩时代才把他 从政治局候补地位提拔为政治局委员。现在朝鲜实际上的二号人物是崔龙海，他是被破格提到政治局常委的位置，而另外两位常委分别是84、85岁，已经是一个 名誉性的，真正两位常委就是金正恩跟崔龙海。所以不管今天的正式的纪念活动是怎么样的阵容，会出现什么样的新面孔，我想人民军总政治局局长崔龙海依然是朝 鲜的二号人物。
At the swearing-in ceremony, director of the general political bureau of the People’s Army, Choe Ryong-hae, read out the words: “Korea’s gunbarrels will defend Kim Jong-un, and will only accept Kim Jong-un’s arms.” And another North Korean high official said that Jang Sung-taek hadn’t been the decisionmaker about North Korea’s economy. So, has the case of Jang Sung-taek changed the economic direction of North Korea?
Yang Xiyu: North Korea’s economic policies, and economic management and optimization in particular, will not change just because of a high-ranking official’s downfall. But given that Jang Sung-taek has indeed been responsible for handling cases of economic cooperation with China, which were also contained in the official conviction of Jang, and some specifically pointed to. Therefore, the major direction of North Korea’s economic policies, including economic cooperation with China, will not change because of this downfall. But the fact that some projects of Sino-North Korean cooperation were mentioned in the conviction will at least add a lot to the political uncertainties. But these are only some individual cases, and as for the general direction, I believe that North Korea has no better choices, other than to continuously improve its systems, continuously entering market mechanisms, expanding the opening-up to the outside world. There are no better policies than these to choose from, and therefore I believe there will be no general changes in the direction of North Korean economic policies.
杨希雨：朝鲜的经济政策特别是关于经济管理与改善的这种调整不会因为某一个高官的落马而改变，但是因为张成泽在负责经济工作的时候确实亲手办理了几个朝鲜 与中国经济合作的案子，而在给张成泽定罪的官方文件当中，也专门点到了某些案例。所以总的讲，朝鲜的经济政策包括朝鲜同中国的经济合作的关系，这个大的方 向大的政策不会改变，不会因为某个人落马而改变。但是在张成泽的定罪书里涉及到一些中朝合作的项目，这个恐怕难免要至少增加了很多的政治上的不确定性。但 这只是一些个别的案子，从大的方向上，我认为朝鲜没有别的更好的选择，除了更好的进一步改善和调整自己的体制，进一步引入市场机制，进一步地扩大对外开 放，没有比这个更好的政策选择，所以我相信总的经济政策的方向没有什么改变。
This year, from January to September, Chinese-North Korean trade amounted to 4.69 billion US dollars – an increase of 200 million US dollars. From August, China resumed oil supplies to North Korea. Before that, from February to July this year, Chinese oil exports to North Korea amounted to zero. Where should future relations between China and North Korea go?
Yang Xiyu: Sino-North Korean relations won’t be affected by the stepping-down or by the promotion of some individual. The development of Sino-North Korean relations follow their own rules. To be frank, China is simply too important for North Korea, so North Korea will continue to make efforts to protect the relations with China, and this won’t be affected. The biggest obstacle and negative impact on relations now is North Korea’s wrong policy of continued development of nuclear arms. We all know China’s two main strategic goals on the Korean peninsula: the first is to maintain peace and stability on the Korean pensinsula, and the second is the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. These two goals are the two sides of one coin. One won’t be achieved without achieving the other, because the possession of nuclear weapons by any party on the peninsula will make it impossible to ever usher in peace and stability. Or, conversely, we want to solve the issue of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula, for the goal of peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.
杨希雨：中朝关系不会因为某一个人的下台，或者某一个人的提拔而受影响，因为他的中朝关系有它自己发展规律，说实话中国对于朝鲜来说太重要了，所以朝鲜它 也会继续的努力维护好同中国的关系，这条不会受影响。中朝关系目前最大的障碍、最大的影响是朝鲜坚持发展核武器这个错误政策，我们都知道中国在朝鲜半岛是 两大战略目标，第一是要维护朝鲜半岛的和平与稳定，第二是要坚决实现朝鲜半岛无核化。这两大目标就有如一枚硬币的两个面，二者缺一不可，因为只要朝鲜半岛 南北任何一方拥有核武器，这个半岛就永远不会迎来真正的和平与稳定。反过来说我们要解决朝鲜半岛无核化问题，其实也是为了朝鲜半岛真正的和平稳定。
(Original headline: Expert says actual No. 2 of North Korea is [and was] Choe Ryong-hae, not Jang Sung-taek.)