Wikistrat is running an interactive futurist simulation on possible pathways of change and regime change of the DPRK. I am participating alongside Thomas P.M. Barnett and HistoryGuy99 and the Wikistrat analytical team. Join us here.
…We have just launched our first open community simulation, where our analysts and subscribers explore a shock in the form of the sudden death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il. Join our subscribers to engage in this live simulation, explore potential scenarios, aftershocks the various impacts of this event on countries’ interests. You can then play the Prime Minister and plan potential strategies for the United States, China, South Korea and many more.
Current ruler Kim Jong-Il turns 70 this year and is allegedly battling pancreatic cancer (very low five-year survival rate) and diabetes, as well as the obvious lingering effects of a stroke that occurred in 2008.
Starting in mid-2009 and culminating in a special party event in the fall of 2010, Kim positioned his under-30 third son, Kim Jong-Eun as his clear successor, although it is widely believed that Kim Jong-Il’s brother-in-law Chang Sung-Taek will play the role of regent for some indeterminate time.
North Korea’s recent military aggressiveness (e.g., ship sinking, artillery barrage of disputed island) suggests a determined effort to speedily credentialize Kim Jong-Eun among the military leadership that now controls much of the government, economy, and – most importantly – mineral exports to, and humanitarian aid from, patron China. Kim Jong-Il was publicly groomed as “founding father” Kim Il-Sung’s successor for roughly a decade-and-a-half, whereas Kim Jong-Eun will likely have had only a restricted public persona for 3-4 years at the time of his father’s death.
When Kim Il-Sung died in 1994, Kim Jong-Il nonetheless was unable to fully claim leadership status until three years had passed.
Interesting article (Hat tip Col. Dave)
Small pockets of unrest are appearing in North Korea as the repressive regime staggers under international sanctions and the fallout from a botched currency reform, sources say. On Feb. 14, two days before leader Kim Jong-il’s birthday, scores of people in Jongju, Yongchon and Sonchon in North Pyongan Province caused a commotion, shouting, “Give us fire [electricity] and rice! “A North Korean source said people fashioned makeshift megaphones out of newspapers and shouted, “We can’t live! Give us fire! Give us rice!” “At first, there were only one or two people, but as time went by more and more came out of their houses and joined in the shouting,” the source added.
The State Security Department investigated this incident but failed to identify the people who started the commotion when they met with a wall of silence.
“When such an incident took place in the past, people used to report their neighbors to the security forces, but now they’re covering for each other,” the source said.