So as expected, KIM Jong-il died. A bit early to secure the transition with KIM Jong-un, who might be tempted to show his skills to those who doubt he's got whatever that is North Korean leaders are supposed to have.
Physically, Junior already used plastic surgery to improve his Kimilsungist looks, let's hope he won't try to sport his dad's weirdo hairdo now.
Character-wise, Jong-un is rumored to be more ill-tempered than his brothers Jong-nam and Jong-chol, respectively a Disneyland and an Eric Clapton fan. But compared to the Late Dear Leader, he's more permeated with such capitalist perversions as burgers. And it starts showing, particularly in a country where the population is maintained in a constant state of starvation.
As far as leadership is concerned, Jong-un didn't quite pass the cut last year: the young lad has been credited with the latest attack on South Korean soil but doesn't seem much of an expert, judging by the way he uses binoculars...
So we'll follow KIM Jong-il's funerals (after four weddings, Hugh can grant him that**). And eminent Pyeongyangologists will watch closely: who will keep a seat when the music stops? Isn't CHANG Sung-taek a trifle too old for musical chairs? Will Beijing-friendly people get promoted in the army*?
In South Korea, a North Korean Spring or Winter would have consequences for the 2012 elections: more tensions could become a problem for AHN Cheol-soo (commander in chief beyond cyberwars?), and boost conservatives, but not necessarily PARK Geun-hye (would Koreans vote for a woman in times of crisis, and one used to operating only behind the scenes at that?).
By the way. This week-end, LEE Myung-bak visited Japan, and devoted the bulk of his talks with Yoshihiko Noda to the issue of Japanese military sexual slavery, following Wednesday's successful demonstration (see "One Thousand Wednesdays"). But if he's consistent, the President must also reactivate the Truth and Reconciliation Commission: every country must face its own past, particularly when it expects the same from its neighbors.
(originally on Seoul Village: "KIM Jong-il passes. To KIM Jong-un. Presumably.")
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*... and the invisible 'hanschluss' continue? see "China-North Korea : the Great Hanschluss still the base case scenario", and previous posts about NK
** BTW 'Four weddings and a funeral' got released in 1994, the same year KIM Il-sung died.
20111230 update: corrected the title (which I changed while editing). Obviously, I never quite got used to Kim Jong-il. And KJI sounds more than ever like a name from the past.
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