Kim Jong-il, the leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, died on Saturday, the 17th of December.
He is to be succeeded by his son, Kim Jong-eun.
The question we are all asking is, what will happenen to the DPRK and its people? The people are deeply apprehensive about the future, and rightly so. The death of Kim Jong-il has left a vacuum in Pyongyang and nobody knows if Kim Jong-eun will be able to fill that vacuum and hold the DPRK together. They probably imagine the USA, South Korea and Japan as vultures circling overhead, ready to swoop down and devour them.
The disturbing thing is, that could happen. I’m well aware of the DPRK’s faults. The regime in Pyongyang is tyrannical, brutal and corrupt. At the same time, they have been successful in keeping the toxic influence of the USA out of their country. There is little or no influence, either political or commercial, of America. And I’m sure I’m not the only Westerner who would like the DPRK to stay free of American trash.
Kim Jong-eun has a daunting year ahead of him. He is only 28 and was only confirmed as Kim Jong-il’s successor last year. His father, by contrast, was 53 when he came to power after the death of his father Kim Il-sung in 1994. And he had been confirmed as Kim Il-sung’s successor as far back as 1980.
Juche 101 will be a pivotal year for Kim Jong-eun and the DPRK. Either he will prove himself an effective leader as his father and grandfather were and slowly haul the DPRK out of its slump and into an era where it is truly self-sufficient. Or else, perish the thought, it will collapse.