I stayed up until two am watching the mammoth funeral of the “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il, live on TV from North Korea’s eerie, snowy capitol, Pyongyang. Giant floats and goose-stepping soldiers made this old Cold War Warrior nostalgic for the 1970’s
What next for the Hermit Kingdom? Kim 3 – Kim Jong-un - has successfully made the transition. The 1.1-million armed forces, the Party, and security organs remain the power behind his leadership.
So far, a power struggle between these groups that could have led to the collapse of the North Korean state has not happened, avoiding South Korea’s greatest fear, “unexpected reunification” - a human tsunami of millions of starving northerners flooding south.
North Korea is branded a dangerous rogue state that threatens the entire world. This is certainly the common view in the United States.
However, the advent to power of “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-un presents North Korea’s uneasy neighbors and the United States with an opportunity to defuse many of the peninsula’s dangerous tensions and even begin a process of opening the isolated Stalinist state to the outside world. Read More