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article imageReport: Future North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seen in public Special

By Andrew Moran     Oct 9, 2010 in World
Pyongan - There is much uncertainty about the future of North Korea, including what the future country's leader, Kim Jong Un, will do once he is fully in charge. As the transition phase begins, will human rights be of importance to the 27-year-old?
North Korea’s human rights issues have been of major concern to the international community due to the malnutrition, brutal detention centers, lack care of human life and draconian laws implemented under the Kim Jong Il regime.
It became official this week that Kim Jong ll’s son, Kim Jong Un, will become the supreme leader in North Korea once his father passes away, which should be soon because of his deteriorating condition. Jong Un became the vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Workers’ Party of Korea last week.
According to Joanna Joanna of the North Korea Human Rights organization, it is expected that Kim Jong Un will not be any better than his other family members, despite his educational achievements and the fact that he is young.
“It is difficult to judge anyone before seeing his decisions or results, but taking into consideration the characteristics of the system, there is no expectation that just because he is young and studied abroad, he will be any better than his family,” said Joanna in an e-mail to Digital Journal. “After all, he has to maintain the system as it is.”
For years, Kim Jong Un was not in the public spotlight. The general public did not even know what he looked like until a photo was released last week showing a picture of the young, chubby 27-year-old.
Yongkang  State Councilor; Minister of Public Safety and commissioner of National Narcotics Control ...
Yongkang, State Councilor; Minister of Public Safety and commissioner of National Narcotics Control Commission; People's Republic of China, on the roof of the Hay-Adams Hotel, Washington,D.C. while they waited for the arrival of Secretary Chertoff. Barry Bahler/DHS
Barry Bahler
On Friday, according to Reuters, Kim Jong Un was reported to be seen at the mass games – part dance show, part circus and part Community propaganda – and he was seated next to Zhou Yongkang, China’s domestic security chief.
Zhou later spoke to Xinhua, a Chinese state news agency, when he arrived in Pyongyang for a three-day visit and made a comment about the future of North Korea and the new leadership of the Workers Party: “We believe that under the strong leadership of General Secretary Kim Jong-il, the new leadership of the Workers Party of Korea will surely lead the DPRK people to make new achievements in the course of building a strong country.”
With Kim Jong Un already meeting ally leaders, gaining attention from the news media and the international community and chosen to succeed his father, Joanna believes dictators generally want to increase control because of the public’s “decline in trust.”
“In the vulnerable times like these, where there is a transition of power combined with society's decline of trust in the system and prolonged dissatisfaction, the dictators generally choose to increase control and this is what we have been observing in North Korea throughout this year (control of markets, tighter border control).”
She further adds that due to the increase in surveillance within the country – due to a lot of the information coming to light from defectors, video recordings and testimony from former prison guards – it seems less likely that human rights of the country’s people will get better.
“As a result of increased surveillance, the deterioration of human rights situation inevitably follows,” Joanna concludes. “But there is so much you can do, if you squeeze too much, it may backfire.”
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