Tag Archive: Kim Jong Il

Kim Jong Il

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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has issues three-point plan for Japan’s response to Kim Jong-Il’s death that is the very definition of  brevity.

Instructions from the Prime Minister with regard to press reports about the Death of Chairman Kim Jong-Il of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

  1. Strengthen information gathering posture relating to unfolding events in the DPRK.
  2. Closely share information with the United States of America, Republic of Korea, People’s Republic of China and other related countries.
  3. Fully prepare for contingencies.

But point three is huge – what contingencies could occur in the peninsula?

No one knows much about Kim Jong-Un, the “Great Successor” waiting in the wings. He is believed to have studied in Switzerland, may be a big fan of basketball, has been described as both shy and very competitive. This veil of secrecy surrounding North Korea’s internal workings and personalities means we simply cannot know what contingencies Japan should prepare for. The outcomes could be any of…

  1. Full-blown Korean peninsula war.
  2. Border skirmishes along the Demilitarized zone near Seoul.
  3. A coup against the young general, by older military men who refuse to take orders from a young and untested man (bearing in mind Asia’s traditional social structures, and his mere months of military experience).
  4. Kim Jong-Un’s dependence on his uncle, Kim Jong-Il’s brother-in-law, and Vice-Chairman of the National Defence Committee, Chang Sung Taek, is proven to be misplaced – the man, previously the guarantor of his succession, takes the role for himself, or is shafted himself.
  5. Kim Jong-Un manages to consolidate his power – Chang Sung Taek proves reliable, controls the other generals (who are mostly in control of the country’s nuclear arms), and this weekend between the death of Kim Jong-il and the announcement of his death has given Kim Jong-Un enough of a chance to purge the ranks of his enemies and his father’s loyalists.
  6. Kim Jong-Un does not prove to be as similar to his father as it has previously appeared and moves towards internal liberalisation.
  7. The country will open up, due to a combination of internal factors and the temptation of food aid.
  8. North Korea will renounce nuclear weapons.

It is likely that Kim Jong-Un will manage to consolidate his power. Chang Sung Taek seems reliable, and  this weekend seems to have been an opportunity to consolidate. Kim Jong-Un’s naming as “Great Successor” and the head of the funeral proceedings seems to give him sole right to carry out his father’s legacy. But he is far too similar to his cruel and vicious father to give up any power. The only thing that can work against him is his youth and inexperience… which may result in either internal struggle or external conflict.

The Short-range missile tests the North has reputedly carried out on Monday would hint at being a warning to other nations not to interfere in North Korea’s affairs. The veil of secrecy is not falling yet.

Our ability to figure out what may happen entirely depends on a series of questions being answered.

  • Can he control older men in the military?
  • Is Chang Sung Taek reliable and in power, or has he been shifted to the side as some suggest?
  • Is he ready, after only been waiting in the wings months, instead of his fathers decades?
  • Is there another claimant to the throne? Another brother, a general…
  • What was he doing over the weekend, since Kim Jong-Il’s death? Was he consolidating his power, carrying out purges?

Only when we have these answers will we know what Japan needs to prepare for…


Feel free to check out my other posts on the topic of Kim Jong-Il’s death and the reaction of South Korea. Over 400 views between them!

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El Presidente de la República , Sebastián Piñe...

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As I’ve reported, it was announced on Monday that Kim Jong-Il, dictator of North Korea, has died – I’ve also been reporting on South Korea’s reaction as it develops here.

According to Yonhap News, South Korea’s National Assembly has convened today, for emergency discussions on how to deal with the news of Kim Jong-Il’s death. Parliamentary Speaker Park Hee-tae ordered the committees on foreign affairs, national defence, trade and unification, and intelligence to hold special sessions, to consider emergency parliamentary-level measures.

South Korea’s military and overseas diplomatic missions are on emergency standby.

Leaders of the incumbent ruling party, the Grand National Party, and the main opposition Democratic Party will meet shortly.

President Lee Myung-Bak has also been in communication with American President Barack Obama, and the pair have agreed “to work closely” over Kim Jong-Il’s death.

More as it emerges.

Follow me on twitter for the latest.

Look at the main post on the issue for more details.

According to Twitter, the BBC, Time, South and apparently North Korean media, Kim Jong-Il, the leader of North Korea has died, aged 69.

He is believed to have died of an acute myocardial infarction, like his father, Kim Il-Sung. Believed to have suffered from a stroke in 2008, Kim Jong-Il’s health has been far from good for a while. He is believed to have suffered from heart disease and diabetes.

It is believed he died on Saturday, with information only being released by North Korean media today.

Thus, it seems likely that any power struggle would already be over. His favoured son, Kim Jong-Un, is being refered to in North Korean media as “the Great Successor” so he seems the likely candidate to now lead North Korea – there are problems with this however, as he is only around the age of 27. He has been groomed as such, including visiting China in 2009 to be ‘presented’ to Beijing, and may be a four-star general and Vice-Chair (now acting Chair) of the DPRK Central Military Commission, but it is likely that his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, will rule behind the curtains for now, as the “Great Successor” is untrained and untested. There are, of course, concerns that the country could see a military coup, but with the veil of secrecy surrounding North Korea, it is difficult to tell if this is likely or even possible.

South Korea is on a defensive footing, with most of the country on emergency alert – I detail the affects here and here.

Conflicting stories abound on twitter, so take all information with a pinch of salt. Talking about twitter, following me for all the latest.

More updates as they are revealed.