North Korea – What Now?

The ‘Dear Leader’, Kim Jong-il is finally dead and has been replaced by his son, Kim Jong-un the ‘Great Successor’, ‘Supreme Leader’, ‘Great Leader’ or  ‘Supreme Commander’ (take your pick). A mere 28 or 29 years old (no-one seems sure which), Kim Jong-un is an enigmatic figure who came to the world’s attention a relatively short time ago.

He has now taken over a nation with nuclear weapons, severe economic problems, and is crippled by UN sanctions. It is a country that has the most inhumane and barbaric prison system in practically all the world, and the entire population is brainwashed from birth to think of their leader is a ‘god’.

Funeral Procession

NK Radio broadcast that even nature itself was in mourning for the ‘Dear Leader’ as ice cracked loudly on a lake on Mount Paekto and a glow was seen at the top of the mountain which is revered by North Koreans for it is from there that Kim Jong-il’s father led the resistance against the Japanese. A crane (bird) circled a statue of the departed leader in Pyongyang three times before perching in a tree. Just about anything out of the ordinary was branded ‘nature’s’ grief’.

 Funeral by Official Korean News:

http://youtu.be/mFqSMdqiLwM 

Kim Jong-un has gained control of the State, the Party, and the North Korean Army all within two weeks of his father’s death, which is essential if he wishes to maintain control of the country. He is a very young man, educated in Switzerland, and the youngest of Kim Jong-il’s three son’s. He has practically no political or military experience and will without doubt be leaning heavily on his ‘advisors’ within the government and military. However, it would seem he has done sufficient for the moment to ‘stay in charge’.

First Public Show of Emotion

The big question on everybody’s lips is; what will he do with all the power that has been thrust upon him at such an early age? Analysts the world over are waiting to see which way he bounces, and with good reason.

As the supreme leader of a rogue state with nuclear weapons he could be responsible for leading the world into another dark period in it’s history, or on the other hand, he could eventually be the one to free his people from tyranny. He has the choice of being remembered by history as just another despot, or a great champion of freedom.

I guess the choice is not all his for there will be powerful men behind him, plus a very capable army. It is for sure, not all the decisions are made by him, as the ‘power behind the throne’ flexes its muscle to see how much it can get away with. This not so unusual in such situations when a young, untried and inexperienced ‘kid’ takes over the ‘family business’.

Eldest Son - Playboy

His history to date has been a closely guarded secret in Pyongyang but it is known he is Kim Jong-il’s youngest son by his third wife. The first two sons were overlooked to take over the reins because of political scandal resulting from the eldest, Kim Jong-nam, being deported from Japan for trying to enter the country on a false passport, and the middle son Kim Jong-chol not being considered ‘manly’ enough by his father, which in plain language means he’s a faggot!

The 'Homo' One

That left Jong-un as the only contender and it’s fairly clear there will be no attempts by his brothers to usurp him, for the eldest is a playboy and the  youngest much the same, so I should think that as long as the money flows allowing them their outrageous lifestyles, they will stay out of the picture. As for the new leader,  he is almost impossible to read, for he has a poker champions face and I for one have yet to see a photograph of him smiling. Even the eyes give nothing away!

While it will be surprising for a power-grab to come from any other quarter in North Korea, there are those among Jong-un’s inner circle, and certainly among the government and military, who have their own agenda’s which as usual in such situations means increasing ones power or influence.

Considering the complete subjugation of the North Korean people it is hard to imagine that any form of regime change will come from there as in the Middle East. It is not possible for any form of action to start a move towards democracy in North Korea for the simple reason there is probably no-one left alive who remembers what democracy is.

Founder of the Kim Dynasty

Since Kim Il-sung began the family dynasty in 1948, all forms of protest and dissention have been punished by incarceration in the labour camps and the entire population have been ‘re-educated’ to follow the party line. It has got to the stage where many of the simpler folk in the country are convinced their leader actually makes the sun rise and set each day. This of course is encouraged by the media and propaganda of the government.

Many western journalists are calling the outpouring of grief at Kim Jong-il’s funeral one of the biggest theatrical con jobs in history. I must admit the scenes I saw on the TV of men and women shedding buckets of tears for the ‘Dear Leader’ were grossly overdone. I get the impression that most of it was for home consumption, because they must have known it would not be believed in the rest of the world.

 Korea ‘Mourns’: http://youtu.be/gd9YEISLlJk

Will Things Change For Them?

But what of the original question; what now for North Korea? In my view, if changes come we will not see any under this new leader for at least five years. If the young man Kim Jong-un has any intention of improving the living standards of his people he will have to proceed slowly, consolidating his power base and waiting for many of the old die-hard generals to die and perhaps replace them with ‘his own people’.

On the other hand, he may be quite content to ‘ride the wave’ as it were just like his father before him. Live the luxurious life while keeping his people under ‘the yoke’.

The one fly in the ointment is the continued affect the UN sanctions will have, not only on the North Korean economy but on the NK political standing in the world. The country is already to all intents and purposes politically isolated, with the exception of Iran that wants its nuclear secrets and the Chinese who tolerate the NK leaderships antics merely to keep the peace.

Korea's Message To the World

It is within the bounds of possibility that Kim Jung-un, if he is indeed a good poker player, can gain much from trading off the NK’s nuclear weapons for aid  through the UN. He would run into problems with some of his generals who naturally enough see the nuclear weapons as a ‘must have’. If he has sufficient hold on power it may be achievable for eventually a ‘bargaining chip’  loses its power if you hold on to it too long.

Whichever way it goes, I don’t see much change for the ordinary people of North Korea, and certainly not for those incarcerated in the merciless labour camps. Life will continue to be a living hell and the ruling elite will pluck the fruits of their labour as always.

In conclusion, will the ‘Supreme Leader’ be the breath of fresh air his country’s people need – maybe, but to be honest I am very doubtful, at least for the forseeable future.

Roy.

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