It has been announced that the rather repulsive North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has passed away as a result of a heart attack, at the age of 69.
The Guardian reports:
The death will be felt far beyond North Korea’s 24 million population. The country has long been a source of international concern because of its nuclear and missiles programmes and there will be widespread anxiety about potential instability and the implications of the change in leadership.
Seoul’s Yonhap news agency said South Korean military leaders had declared an emergency alert following Kim’s death. A spokesman for Japanese prime minister Yoshihiko Noda said he had set up a crisis management team on North Korea, while in the US the White House said Barack Obama was monitoring reports of the death.
“We remain committed to stability on the Korean peninsula, and to the freedom and security of our allies,” a spokesman added.
While there were some suggestions the new leader might sabre-rattle in the region to help establish himself, Dr Leonid Petrov of the University of Sydney argued that Pyongyang was likely to use the transition as an opportunity to reach out to the international community.
But there have long been doubts about how easy it will be for the younger man – thought to be in his late 20s – to continue the Communist dynasty founded by his grandfather Kim Il-sung, who died in 1994.
“I think the North has done quite a bit to accelerate the succession process so I think at least in the short term they will coalesce around the next generation of leadership and watch and see whether his son will be able to consolidate power. But there will be a lot of uncertainty ahead,” said Daniel Pinkston of the International Crisis Group.
Chung Young-tae, of the Korea Institute of National Unification, told Reuters: “Any prospect for a strong and prosperous country is now gone. Kim Jong-un is not yet the official heir, but the regime will move in the direction of Kim Jong-un taking centre stage.
“There is a big possibility that a power struggle may happen. It’s likely the military will support Kim Jong-un. Right now there will be control wielded over the people to keep them from descending into chaos in this tumultuous time.”
The death of Kim Jong-il is bound to have some national and international implications. Looking at these portions of the Guardian report, I see two things that might be of concern: (1) the son is still very young and had not been installed into a leadership role. This could open up rivalries which could cause chaos. (2) with Kim Jung-il out of the way there is an opportunity of an about face in North Korea which could lead to necessary aid for the starving population.
The first report that I saw on the death of Kim Jong-il did not give me a hint that he had died. Instead it came across as cult worship. The claim was that he was born on a high mountain in North Korea and that there had been a special star in the sky. Does that sound familiar? It sounds like North Korean leadership were trying to co-opt the birth of Jesus Christ.
In other words, you can add North Korea as a country to watch. I just hope that Østupid does not f.up things too much by doing or saying something extremely stupid. And we all know that he is capable of being extremely stupid.