Antonio Inoki – Friend of North Korea
Former pro wrestler Antonio Inoki visited North Korea last week, wining and dining with elites and receiving a medal honoring him for the support and friendship he has given to one of the world’s most brutal totalitarian states.
Here’s some video of his visit:
Inoki trained under the legendary Korean-born wrestler Rikidozan, who is treated as a hero in North Korea. The Pyongyang regime, which includes Rikidozan’s son-in-law as a member of National Defence Commission of North Korea, has welcomed visits by Inoki. Inoki apparently does it in the name of international friendship, but he allows himself to be used as a propaganda tool by the regime. Last week’s award ceremony was shown in North Korean state television, no doubt to demonstrate to the people that Kim Jong-il’s regime enjoys international friendship and recognition.
During a meeting with party officials, Inoki brought up the rumors that Kimg Jong-il’s son would soon be named official successor. They did not confirm the rumors, but they also did not deny them. This has been reported in the international media as a major sign that changes are about to take place:
“I got the impression that (the meeting) will be held immediately before the 65th anniversary of the party’s founding on Oct. 10,” Inoki, a former member of the House of Councilors, told journalists at Beijing airport.
The ruling party apparently has delayed a conference of delegates it earlier said would be held in “early September” to elect its “highest leading body.”
Inoki said North Korea appears to have suffered “serious damage” from torrential rains and a typhoon this summer, indicating the conference was postponed due to reconstruction and rehabilitation work.
Inoki said the North Korean people appear to have “tacit understanding” that leader Kim Jong Il’s third son Jong Un is his heir apparent. But Inoki said he didn’t see any photos or portraits of Kim Jong Un while he was there to attend the opening ceremony Friday of the 12th Pyongyang International Film Festival, which runs through Sept. 24.
Other sources are now reporting that a conference of its ruling Workers’ Party will be held next week, and that Kim Jong-il could use it as an opportunity to step down as leader.