Category Archives: Kim Jong-il

North Korea – an unexpected perspective


The tensions regarding North Korrea’s posturing have not been abated to date. If anything Kim Jong Un has upped the rhetoric and has in fact pushed towards more missile testing. The USA, South Korea and Japan are monitoring the situation on a daily basis. The U.S. has announced that it is ready to shoot down any missiles if necessary, but such a move could strengthen the existing tensions.

Kim Jong Un became the leader when his father passed away at the age of 29. He is definitely no Alexander of Macedon (who was in his 20s when his father Philip passed away). The posturing of the younger Kim Jong seems to be about leadership manouvering in North Korea. I have personally speculated that perhaps his sabre-rattling was against Ban Ki Moon, the South Korean UN President, and I do think this is a possibility since the UN did put in place more sanctions against North Korea (followed by the present posturing about declaring war).

However, my attention has been caught by an article that has appeared in the Daily Telegraph newspaper regarding tensions within North Korea itself. There seems to be another angle to this story, i.e. there are two factions battling for control in North Korea, and it is this battle for control that is probably the reason for all of the posturing that is happening at the present time. Could it be that Kim Jong Un feels that he is under threat from the other faction, and therefore he feels the need to posture and make these threats against the USA and South Korea as the means to keep his leadership?

The story in the Times comes from a North Korean commander who escaped after he had killed another commander of the same rank. The North Korean belonged to a faction who supported the 85 year old President, and the commander who was killed belonged to the Kim Jong Un faction. The interesting thing in this story is that the factions were fighting prior to Kim Jong Un becoming leader after the death of his father, and more importantly, that the members of the faction against Kim Jong were arrested when he came to power.

Another point of interest in the story is that Kim Jong Un has a brother from a different mother and they have been jostling with each other.

The saddest part of Lt. Kim’s story is the confirmation that people are starving to death in North Korea. Lt. Kim’s parents died of starvation and his brother died of an illness. On top of that Lt. Kim had not tasted rice in a very long time, that is until his escape to China, where he is in hiding – if he was Captured by the Chinese he would be returned and would probably be shot because of his actions. The report also mentions that most North Koreans attempting to escape are not successful and that they are shot and killed in the attempt.

I find the perspective that has been offered to be quite interesting. The posturing that we are seeing probably has more to do with some kind of internal struggle than it does with anything relating to China, Japan, South Korea, the USA or even the UN. The people of North Korea are being starved to death whilst Kim Jong Un continues the militarization of the tiny country. If this perspective is correct then what we are in fact seeing is Kim Jong Un attempting to consolidate his position as leader which is difficult because he is so young. The story also shows that Kim Jong Un is extremely ruthless.

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UPDATE

Rather than start a new thread I will add this new article to what I have written above.  Again the source is a North Korean who was on the inside and knows how to analyse the situation. It is further evidence that Kim Jung Un is struggling to maintain control in North Korea.

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North Korea – Kim Jong il passes away


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.