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‘Kim Jong-il dreamed of stoning’

GNP Rep. Chung Mong-joon reveals chat between his late father and N.K. leader


Kim Jong-il has had nightmares at times in which his people threw stones at him, Rep. Chung Mong-joon of the ruling Grand National Party said Sunday, citing his father’s private conversations with the North Korean leader.

His remarks indicated that Kim was aware of the growing discontent among his people, who have long suffered from poverty and oppression under his rule.

Chung’s father Chung Ju-yung, the late founder of the Hyundai business empire, met Kim three times between 1998 and 2000. Chung died at age 85 in March 2001.

“Chairman Kim Jong-il once told (my father that) he was well-aware that his people, in fact, did not like him although many people came out to welcome him when he showed up,” Chung said in an interview with MBC.

“He told my father that he had dreams in which he was hit by stones thrown first by Americans, second by South Koreans and then by North Koreans.”

The former GNP chairman said that the remarks by Kim showed that Kim was aware of the desperate situations in the impoverished state, which has been faltering under international sanctions resulting from its belligerent behavior.

During the interview, Chung Mong-joon, seen as one of the potential presidential candidates in the ruling camp, also indicated that he would run in the 2012 presidential election.

“I believe that I should always make due preparations (for the presidential race). What the government should do is to more stably manage the country so that people can actually feel that the economy is doing well,” he said.

Born in Tongcheon in the North Korean side of Gangwon Province, in 1915, Chung Ju-yung helped lay the groundwork for inter-Korean exchanges.

In 1989, Chung met North Korean founder Kim Il-sung and signed an agreement for the joint development of the mountain resort of Geumgang.

In 1998, he brought a total of 1,000 cows to the North across the inter-Korean border, adding to the conciliatory mood on the peninsula. In 1999, he established Hyundai Asan, a branch specializing in programs for tours to Mount Geumgang and Gaeseong in North Korea.

Meanwhile, speculation has been raised here that Kim Jong-il’s youngest son and heir apparent Jong-un may visit China as early as next month.

Choi Tae-bok, the chairman of the North’s Supreme People’s Assembly, arrived in China on Saturday.

Although he reportedly made a brief stop to China on his way to Britain, observers here speculated that Choi went to China to discuss issues involving Jong-un’s upcoming visit to North Korea’s biggest patron.

Choi was expected to pay a reciprocal visit to Britain, whose parliamentary representatives visited the North last year to mark the 10 anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

In addition to Choi, some of the officials from North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party and military have gone to China recently, reinforcing the speculation that the two countries are fine-tuning details over Jong-un’s visit.

Observers said that Kim Jong-un could visit China after a meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly ends on April 7 or after the birthday of North Korean founder Kim Il-sung on April 15.

Last October, a senior official from China’s ruling Communist Party requested that the new North Korean leadership visit China.

By Song Sang-ho (sshluck@heraldcorp.com)
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