Kim Jong-Un

In Uncategorized on November 2, 2010 at 12:00 pm

-If Kim Jong-un does assume power in North Korea, what will happen? Will he be able to maintain the status quo in the country, or will the Kim dynasty fall? If the latter, how?

I keep seeing this question sitting there unanswered so I thought I’d give it a go. I fear, however, that the answer I give will be unsatisfactory to the question asker. Here goes. It is now widely accepted that Kim Jong-un will assume power, even if only in a figure head role, with the real power held by his Aunt and Uncle (Kim Kyong-hui and Jang Song-tek). The important thing to remember is that North Korea’s regime is a family dynasty, as soon as power goes outside the blood family of Kim Il Sung, the founding dictator, the whole system will begin to collapse (that’s my personal opinion anyway). The North Korean leadership is only too aware that they must remain united in order to hold on to power. Just how long the Kim dynasty will last is anyone’s guess. North Korea has proven very resilient in the past, but nonetheless appears to be unsustainable.

No one can accurately predict the future, certainly not me, but many people make a living out of doing just that. Search the op-ed section of any major newspaper and you will read articles by people who make their living by predicting the future of North Korea. Will it collapse? I think it depends what you mean by collapse. The one thing I am certain of is that there will be big changes in North Korea in the not too distant future as a result of the spread of capitalism (which grows like a weed) and the breakdown of the information blockade. North Korea may seem like it’s frozen in time (I heard one author describe how he returned to North Korea after a twenty year absence, to find the exact same trash can sitting where he remembered it), but in fact, the change is already happening. North Korea today is a vastly different place than it was ten or twenty years ago.

But is all this talk of politics really important? When one third of the population is suffering from malnutrition; when the TB, hepatitis, and malaria epidemics are getting worse, not better; when hundreds of thousands of people are languishing in the gulag. This year, as in previous years, UN humanitarian agencies in North Korea have only received 20% of their funding meaning they won’t even come close to reaching their targets of providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable. Enough said.


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