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article imageNorth Korea's future, people in the hands of Kim Jong Un Special

By Andrew Moran     Oct 4, 2010 in World
Pyongan - It is now official: Kim Jong Un, son of Democratic People's Republic of Korea top leader, Kim Jong Il, will most likely lead North Korea into the future. Will the nation's suffering end? Can the people finally live in peace?
In August, the 10th annual International Conference on North Korean Human Rights and Refugees took place in Toronto over the course of three days. Canadian and international officials, academics and two North Korean defectors explained the dire crises occurring in North Korea.
The state of affairs in North Korea
Two months later, a lot has happened in the country that has been described as a “hell on Earth, not a paradise on Earth,” including the son of Kim Jong Il, 27-year-old Kim Jong Un, most likely to succeed his father, China enhancing its partnership with North Korea and various officials urging the country to strengthen its nuclear arsenal.
It is widely known that Kim Jong Il’s health is deteriorating. Once he passes away, Kim Jong Un will likely lead North Korea for many years to come. Last week, Jong Un was one of two elected as vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea, according to Xinhua.
Many believe, however, that this will not be a “one-person structure” but rather a “politburo type of system” where Jong Un will lead with other members of the party making the final decisions.
“When I think of Kim Jong Un, I think of that scene from "The Last Emperor" where the boy Pu Yi asks innocently, "I am the emperor?" At 27 years old (if our information is correct), it's unlikely that he will be fully in charge of the reins,” said Jack Kim, executive director of HanVoice, in an e-mail to Digital Journal. “How long this regime can sustain itself is another question.”
Communist leadership of North Korea.
Communist leadership of North Korea.
File Photo
Kim explains that sources in North Korea say there is “open grumbling” about the transitioning from the dynasty to a third-generation, which has many questioning: Is there now open dissent? Kim notes that dissent has already begun in the nation with private markets and public dissatisfaction with the Kim Jong Il government.
Are we ready for an end?
“If they continue on this path of isolation and iron-fisted rule, economically, politically, socially, North Korea cannot sustain itself,” adds Kim. “On the other hand, if they start opening up, the control they have over their people loosens, increasing dissent, and also increasing the likelihood that the regime leaders will end up the same way the Ceaucescu's did in Romania (an example the folks in Pyongyang themselves have provided in the past).”
Nevertheless, after the death of Kim Il Sung, the country thought the regime would collapse. However, North Korea still has famine, oppression, tyranny, various forms of detention camps and ruthless leaders.
The key question is, according to Kim: Are we ready for a regime collapse? There is a lot of evidence pointing to the tragic answer of no. The South Korean government is starting to help pay for the rebuilding of its northern counterpart, countries in the immediate region are not discussing the issue at hand and the international community may not be ready for a regime disintegration.
The HanVoice executive director points out to what the Nazis and the Japanese did once their military began to implode, including the accumulative executions that took place inside the concentration camps.
“What type of plan should we have to preserve this evidence, not only to bring those who committed these atrocities to justice, but to remind and educate future generations?”
China’s ties with North Korea
According to NTD Television, Chinese Community Party leader Hu Jintao welcomed North Korea’s newest Communist Party officials and has pledged to strengthen ties with the country’s government.
“I hereby extend my warm congratulation on the successful holding of the conference of the WPK, on your re-election as general secretary of the WPK, and on the re-election and formation of a new highest leading body of the WPK,” states Jintao.
North Korea
North Korea
The Chinese political figure said that “despite the ups and downs,” China will always find ways to strengthen the partnership between Beijing and Pyongyang. China still remains North Korea’s strongest ally as it provides them with economic, military and food aid.
Kim Jong Il, with his son, visited China last month, reports Reuters, where some believe he outlined his succession plans to specific leaders in the country.
“This is becoming increasingly an alarming development among DPRK watchers in South Korea and the United States. With the end of the sunshine policy, a vacuum seems to have been filled with the decrease of South Korean organizations and corporations working within to develop DPRK infrastructure. This vacuum is beginning to be filled by Chinese firms. Whether these firms are acting at the behest of Beijing has not been confirmed yet,” said Kim.
He adds that North Korea “serves as a buffer” between the emerging American and Chinese conflict, which is what China wants because they are still upgrading their military to bring it up to par to “superpower standards.”
North Korea is viewed as a failed state in China and still having North Korea as a “buffer state” is a miserly method to continue China’s military means. An invasion of North Korea is quite possible by various nations around the world, so this reason alone makes North Korea an important interest for China.
“Otherwise, as in the past, as major powers have clashed over the Korean peninsula for thousands of years in the past, North Korea too is increasingly becoming a point of conflict.”
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