The Wednesday Report
The Wednesday Report

Kim Il Sung


Kim Il Sung was the pseudonym for Kim Song Ju. Kim was born in P'yongi, near P'yonyang in 1912. Kim and his family emigrated to Manchuria in the 1920's like many Korean families did at the time. In Manchuria, Kim attended a Chinese school. At the age of fifteen, Kim was arrested and imprisoned for a year by the Chinese authorities for having been a founding member of a Communist Youth League. After his release from jail in 1930, Kim founded the Korean Revolutionary Army, a guerrilla group that fought against the Japanese military. In 1931, Kim left for the hills of eastern Manchuria to join a Chinese Communist guerrilla group fighting the Japanese military in Manchuria. Kim swiftly rose up the ranks of the Chinese Communist Army. between the years 1932-1941, Kim led a band of Korean guerrillas against Japanese positions and personnel in Manchuria. It was during this time that he assumed the pseudonym Kim Il Sung, the name of a legendary resistance fighter that caused the Japanese a lot of trouble. In 1941, Japanese counterinsurgency forces forced Kim to leave Manchuria for the Soviet Union. There he remained until he "hitched" a ride with the Soviet Army into Korea in 1945.

Having received direct Soviet encouragement and backing form the beginning, Kim strove to unify Korea under the banner of communism. After the creation of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1948, in response to the formation of a separate regime in the south, Kim became not only the head of the Korean Workers' Party, but premier of the new communist state as well. In late 1949, Kim made the fateful decision to launch a major military campaign to unify Korea under force of arms.

After the war, Kim continued the trend towards one-man rule. He succeeded in constructing a cult of personality with himself as the main icon for adoration {A glimpse of the kind of god-like status that Kim Il Sung had achieved was seen last year when television footage of his funeral procession was released}. In the post-Korean War years, Kim developed the idea ofjuche, an ideology of self-reliance blended with Marxism, thus creating a distinct "native" Korean communism. Last year (1994), at the age of 82, Kim Il Sung died.

 

Kim Jong Il 


North Koreans have said they would die for their Dear Leader, Kim Jong-il. North Korea's state-run media call him the peerless one. But South Korean and American media say he's a wacko, and U.S. President George W. Bush has referred to him as a spoilt child. 
In the past few weeks, North Korea has reactivated its nuclear reactors, threatened to abandon the 1953 Korean War Armistice, fired a missile into the Sea of Japan and intercepted a U.S. reconnaissance plane in international airspace. 

Kim Jong-il's actions have the world questioning his every move; he's been called an evil genius and just plain crazy. 

For years he remained shrouded behind layers of communist propaganda and secrecy. It wasn't until 2000 that he started to make forays onto the world stage, first by hosting an unprecedented summit with then-South Korean president, Kim Dae-jung and then by welcoming former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright to the nation. 

Then in a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, Kim Jong-il admitted North Korea had abducted about a dozen Japanese civilians in the 1970s and 1980s to help train its spies. In October 2004, Kim Jong-il allowed the five surviving abductees to return to Japan for two weeks. 

The state-run media call him a brilliant politician and paint him as a frugal workaholic. In 1994 he brokered a deal that saw the U.S., Japan and South Korea pumping billions of dollars in foreign aid into his country in exchange for the cessation of his nuclear program. 

Others see him as ruthless and selfish, basking in opulence while his poverty-stricken nation suffers one hardship after another. Natural disasters, compounded by poor governance, have caused a famine in the country that aid workers say has killed more than two million people over the last decade. 

His government is also mired in scandal. The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and South Korean intelligence point to Kim Jong-il as the mastermind behind several terrorist attacks, including the 1983 bombing in Rangoon, Burma, (now known as Yangon, Myanmar) that killed 17 South Koreans, and the 1987 bombing of a South Korean plane that killed 115. 

The mystery surrounding Kim Jong-il, extends back to the date and place of his birth. According to state officials, he was born in February 1942 at his father's guerrilla base on Mount Paektu, North Korea's highest mountain. "At the time of his birth there were flashes of lightning and thunder, the iceberg in the pond on Mount Paektu emitted a mysterious sound as it broke, and bright double rainbows rose up," the official lines read. However historians say he was born a year earlier during his father's period of exile in Siberia. Kim Il-Sung had fled to the former Soviet Union when Japan put a price on his head for guerrilla activities in occupied Korea. After Japan's surrender in the Second World War, the family returned to the northern part of the peninsula where Soviet dictator Josef Stalin designated Kim Jung Sung as the leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. 

Kim Jong-il's early years were marked by tragedy. His younger brother drowned as a child and his mother died when he was seven. He was sent to Manchuria when the Korean War broke out in 1950 and stayed away until it ended, three years later. 

In 1964 he graduated from the Kim Sung Il University where legend has it he wrote 1,500 books, all of which are stored in the state's library. It is also said that he wrote six operas, all of which are better then any in the history of music, and designed the Juche Tower, a 150-metre tower that commemorates his father.

By 1980, Kim Jong-il's father designated him as his successor and he was given senior posts in the politburo, the military commission and the party secretariat. Following in the tradition of his father who was called "Great Leader," Kim Jong-il was called "Dear Leader." 

He eventually took control of the armed forces and then officially took power in 1994, a few months after his father died. 

Kim Jong-il is believed to have fathered three children Kim Sul Song, Kim Jong Nam and Kim Jong Chul each of whom has a different mother.

It is reported that Kim Jong Il was born on February 16, 1942 - the first son of Kim Il Sung and Kim Chong Suk. Kim Chong Suk joined Kim Il Sung's army in 1935 at the age of 16. She worked as a cook, seamstress, spy, food gatherer, fighter and close comrade of Kim Il Sung. She was captured by the Japanese in 1937 but was released a year later. She died in childbirth (her third child) in September 1949. Her second child drowned in Pyonyang a year earlier.

At the time of Kim Jong Il's birth, his father (Kim Il Sung) was a battalion commander of the 88th Special Independent Guerrilla Brigade of the Soviet Army. The main task of this unit was to gather military intelligence in Manchuria and Korea. The 88th wa s located in a wooded area of Vyachkra near Habarovsk (Siberia) and this is where Kim Jong Il was born.

Kim came to Korea with his parents in 1945. He received primary, secondary and college education in N Korea. He briefly lived in China and Russia during the Korean War. He graduated from Kim Il Sung University. He spent years authoring "The Birth of a Nation" - a lengthy movie epic.

He is Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Army with a rank of "Field Marshall". He spends much of his time running the Army. He holds no other official title. His father was the President and the boss of the Korean Workers Party at the time of his death in 1954.

About once a month, Kim Jong Il makes a public appearance and the world gets a fleeting glimpse of the reclusive man in charge of a reclusive country. Some S Koreans say that (1) his voice is high-pitched which may refle ct a man who is easily excited or is very energetic, and (2) that his word use is more commonly associated with people with little education.

N Korean agits have been building personality cult around Kim Jung Il, touting him as a genius in all fields and in effect, Kim Il Sung reincarnated. However, Kim Jung Il himself apparently believes that N Korea's socialist system is backward but that it cannot open up completely for reasons of national defense. He has said - "After upholding a socialist system for about 30 years, we have to reach out to the West to help feed the people. It's a grim reality that we are behind the West."

Kim Jung Il appears to be following Deng's example in China. Deng has been running China from "behind the scene" for sometime now. Deng is small in stature and his public speech ability is quite limited. Perhaps, another parallel is Chiang Ching Guo, C hiang Kai Sek's heir of Taiwan. Chiang Kai Sek's personality cult was comparable to that of Kim Il Sung. His son took over after his death as an interlude to post-Chiang Taiwan. Chiang's dynasty has faded away with time. 

 

 

Recent History - N. Korea / Western Relations

 

The US DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) report on North Korea's test of high performance explosives for nuclear weapons triggers has added fuel to the 'March 1999 Nuclear Crisis' theme. Some American experts on North Korea claim that North Korea is faking 'nuclear facilities' in order to exact economic concession form the United States.

What will the US do if North Korea continued to develop nuclear weapons?
Will North Korea allow inspections of their suspected nuclear facilities?
What does Kim Jong Il expect to achieve from nuclear confrontations?

 

 

Photo: A photo of the Yongbyong nuclear facility taken by French spy satellite Spots #3 in 1994. The photo shows a 50 MW reactor and a reprocessing plant under construction.

 

 

 

Kumchang-ri, Gusung-gun, North Pyong-ahn Province, North Korea

This village, a fortress hidden deep in the mountains, seethes with strange activities. There is a 20m long octagonal building. At the center of the building, there is a steel structure shaped like a bowl. Long red and blue wires come out of this structure. There are several measurement devices around the structure.

At exactly 12 O'clock, someone at the control tower, some 100m away, pushed a large red button and the bowl-like structure exploded thunderously with blinding white smoke and searing heat waves. Temperature in the vicinity shot up to 2,000 degrees. People in the control tower felt the heat in their face. A huge mushroom cloud rose above the structure. No one in the control tower looked at the cloud. They were too busy taking notes of the measurement logs.

At about 1 PM, 3 hours after the explosion, a middle-aged man in people's uniform got in a waiting black Benz. The car left the compound and sped away. The complex was surrounded by 3,000V hot-wires. The Benz with "Pyongyang 216-000" license plate went southward and disappeared in the mountain. It reappeared on the other side of the mountain in exactly 6 minutes at Kidong-ri. There was probably a secret tunnel dug through the mountain. The Benz sped to Taechun.

The Workers' Party chief secretary for Military Affairs was seated in the back seat of the Benz, holding tightly the report on the first test for Kim Jong Il. Thus began Kim Jong Il's nuclear brinkmanship.

 

US Spy Satellite spots the high-explosive test

Some 350 km above the structure, a giant "eye" recorded the explosion. The American spy satellite weighs 18 tons and 15 m long. At one end of this cylindrical satellite is a 9ft long photo lens. This lens was focused at a spot, 39 degrees and 37 second North Latitude and 124 degrees 18 seconds East Longitude - the exact location of the test site.

Images captured by the lens are reflected by a 45-degree mirror at the other end of the satellite and then filtered and focused into the image panel. The images were encrypted and transmitted via a dish antenna to Milstar hovering over the Pacific Ocean.

The onboard microcomputer of Milstar decoded the image signals from the spy satellite. The codes began with the string 'KH11-K98..." - the identification code of the spy satellite KH11 (nicknamed "Key Hole' - KH) observing Korea in 1998 (K98). Milstar transmitted the images to two receivers, one of which was located 100m beneath Osan K-1 airfield - the North Korea observation center.

The first to arrive at the US 8th Army HQ at Yongsan was Lt. Col. 'S' of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Col. S was in charge of intelligence analysis, responsible for the Black Book. The Book, a Newsweek-size document, has a 12-page digest of the military intelligence during the past 24 hours. The Book is the very first document read by the US military commander in Korea at 7 a.m., every morning.

Col. S perused spy satellite images on a computer screen. He frowned when he saw the test. It was a very bad news. He front-paged 'North Korea High Explosive Test' on the Black Book on that day.

At about the same time, the giant parabolic antenna of the National Reconnaissance Operation (NRO) in Virginia received the same signals from Milstar. The signals ignited two different ripple effects - a national intelligence estimate report (NIE) and a power struggle among the various spy agencies.

Successful trigger test leads to nuclear tests

The US intelligence community of 13 competing agencies was engaged in intense disputes over North Korea's 'impeding collapse' in 1994. The intelligence analysts of the US State Dept won out in 1994. The DIA and other military intelligence agencies argued that North Korea was "irrevocably in the early phase of collapse." The State argued that even though North Korea's economy is shambles, its collapse couldn't be predicted. Robert Kallin of the State was the chief proponent of the State's position. Kallin regularly read North Korea's Rodong-sinbun. The National Security Council (NSC) accepted the State position and formulated the US 'soft-landing' North Korea strategy.

However, the table was turned this time. The DIA never ruled out nuclear North Korea, even prior to the US-DPRK Geneva Accord in October 1994. During the past 5 years, the DIA has mobilized vast arrays of spy satellite intelligence (Elint) and human intelligence (Humint) and collected information on North Korea's nuclear development.

The DIA has documented a huge underground cave at Kumchang-ri, a man-made lake at Taechun-gun that has a man-made island at its center, a nuclear reprocessing plant beneath the lake, 3000V high tension transmission lines around the lake, a Plutonium reprocessing facility, underground refrigeration facilities and a list of the Benz 300 cars of the project leaders and their curriculum vitae.

The DIA has compiled a list of 11,000 underground facilities. Each facility has a serial # and its primary functions detailed.

The KH-11 spy satellite's infrared camera played the key role. The DIA concluded that the North Korean test that generated 2,000-degree heats was a test of high explosive lenses for nuclear bombs. A nuclear bomb is shaped like a basketball and has three distinct layers. At the center of the bomb is a baseball-size mass of Plutonium. The Plutonium ball is surrounded by an implosion layer which is surrounded by high explosives. Chain reactions require temperatures of 2000-3000 degrees and high pressures. High performance explosives trigger the chain reaction. 20-30 cm thick layers of nuclear trigger surround the Plutonium ball.

The most critical requirement is that the trigger explosion is uniformly directed to the center of the bomb simultaneously. High performance explosives must be shaped just right to achieve the critical temperature and pressure for nuclear explosion. Experimental data are of course the key to making bombs and the trigger is the most critical component.

Advanced nations use super-computer simulation models to design triggers. North Korea has no super-computer and has to rely on actual tests. It should be noted that trigger tests are the final step in nuclear bomb tests. Plutonium extraction and trigger development are the two key elements of nuclear bomb development. North Korea has already extracted 7-22 kg of Plutonium, enough for 1-3 Hiroshima-size nukes, from a carbon reactor at Yongbyon. Trigger development is the last step in making nukes and North Korea can test a nuclear bomb in 6 months, if the DIA report is correct.

"We are obligated to abandon the Geneva Accord and go on our own way.."

The power struggle between the DIA and the State Dept. on North Korea's nuclear capability ended in the DIA's favor by the US Congress in August 1998. The Secretary of State and Gen. Patrick Hughes, the DIA Director, presented their case to a congressional committee. The Secretary claimed that North Korea had been abiding by the Accord, but Republican conservatives, citing the DIA report, ridiculed the State's position. The Secretary claimed that she received the DIA report only recently, whereupon Gen. Hughes broke in and stated that the report was sent to the State several months ago. The Secretary was apparently caught with her 'pants' down.

The DIA's assertion that North Korea has been developing nuclear capability in violation of the Geneva Accord began to gain wider acceptance in Washington. More and more key players began to nod their head at DIA briefings of spy satellite photos. Even such noted doves as Callucci, the midwife of the Geneva Accord, admitted after a DIA briefing that inspection of North Korea's underground facility at Kumchang-ri is not insignificant.

In addition to the August 31 launching of a Daepodong missile, other events added to the North Korean nuclear issue. The North Korean representive at the US-DPRK missile meeting, held at New York on October 1, 1998, warned that 'if the United States fail to abide by the Geneva Accord, such as failing to deliver heavy oil, we will consider the Geneva Accord null and void, and proceed to go on our own way."

This North Korean warning enhanced the 'March 1999 nuclear crisis theme' circulating amongst the US intelligence community. North Korea considers the Geneva Accord de facto dead and has been proceeding with its nuclear program. Kim Jong Il is not likely to conduct a nuclear test - yet. He is likely to wait out this year (1998) and then seize a proper opportunity to pronounce the Geneva Accord void and North Korea a nuclear power.

March 1999 may be his first opportunity, because the US-ROKA joint military exercise planned for February 1999 will provide him with a pretext. He may claim that this exercise is in fact a prelude to an invasion of North Korea and either officially discards the Accord or conduct a nuclear test. The United States has two options in case of a North Korean nuclear test: either mount cruise missile attacks on North Korean nuclear sites or accept the fact.

One cannot rule out North Korean attacks on South Korea in case of US cruise missile attacks on North Korean sites. Accepting North Korea's nuclear status would induce not only South Korea but Japan to enter the nuclear race. This will lead to rearmament of Japan. Nuclear race of India and Pakistan is a good example of what might happen. The Washington policy makers finally realized that they are caught in a trap set by Kim Jong Il.

The US-DPRK psychological war over North Korea's underground facilities began in earnest in November 1998. The US State Dept, through an unnamed high-level spokesman, stated that the US would not go on with the Geneva Accord, if North Korea refuses to allow inspection, in an October 1998 briefing. This statement was meant for the North Korean leaders in advance of the October 16th Pyongyang visit by Charles Cartman. This was the first time the United States publicly referred to abolishment of the Geneva Accord. Robert Manning stated at a December press briefing that the US-DPRK relation would revert to the 1994 pre-Accord crisis unless North Korea allowed inspection of its underground facilities.

North Korea has not budged an inch from its hard-line position. North Korea's Central News Agency broadcast of December 12, 1998 states that "The US insistence on inspection is an attempt to examine our interiors and an insult to our country which has been following the US-DPRK Accord to the letter. The underground facility at issue is a civilian facility, one of many located throughout our nation. We will allow inspection of the facility but we will demand adequate compensation if the facility is proven to be non-nuclear.".

The North Korean underground facility was a major item on the agenda of Bill Clinton's November 20th visit to South Korea. South Korea's ambassador to the United States, Lee Hong Ku, stated that the United States and South Korea had agreed to stop the KEDO project, if North Korea violates the Geneva Accord.

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