Advertisements

The Women Behind the Throne in North Korea’s ‘Empire of Horror’

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L), accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-Ju (R), visiting a wading pool at the Rungna People's Pleasure Ground in Pyongyang Photo: AFP

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L), accompanied by his wife Ri Sol-Ju (R), visiting a wading pool at the Rungna People’s Pleasure Ground in Pyongyang Photo: AFP

Kim Jong-un’s execution of his uncle has been seen as a brutal demonstration of who is in power. But behind the scenes, are Kim Kyung-hui and Ri Sol-ju, Kim Jong-un’s aunt and wife, pulling the strings in North Korea?

 writes:  In the scant collection of carefully-staged photos that emerge from North Korea, Jang Song-thaek was everywhere.

At the funeral of Kim Jong-il, marching directly behind Kim Jong-un, the newly anointed Dear Leader; on an escalator, visiting a shopping centre to glorify the triumph of the regime; dressed in the uniform of a full general whispering words of wisdom into the ear of the world’s youngest head of state.

Now Jang, Mr Kim’s uncle and one of North Korea’s most powerful men, has been erased.

The reclusive communist state confirmed his execution on Thursday. The 30-year-old Mr Kim, it appeared, was demonstrating in no uncertain terms who really ran the show.

But another tantalising suggestion is crystallising. Was Jang’s death by firing squad a sign that the real power behind the throne lies with the two women in Mr Kim’s life?

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements