Extra! Korea

August 13, 2010

What will happen after Kim Jong-il dies?

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 7:51 pm

What will happen after Kim Jong-il dies? Over half of a group of experts* predict that there will be a power struggle.

A researcher at the Sejong Institute (I don’t know if he was part of the aforementioned group or not) believes that China will support Kim Jong-un, the third and youngest son of Kim Jong-il, taking power.

I suspect that in about three years, we’ll all know. And unlike any of the aforementioned experts, I’m predicting that, in the same way that Korea was divided, North Korea might be divided. One part will reunify with the south, and the other will either remain as is (a satellite state dependent upon big brother China) or will, for all intents and purposes, become a Chinese province.

* “46 North Korean affairs and unification experts from 23 universities, think tanks and media companies”

July 7, 2010

More evidence of Kim Jong-il’s dementia? Or a clever ruse?

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 7:51 am

I’ve posted before about how there is speculation that Kim Jong-il may be suffering from dementia. Now comes word that he watched the same play in less than two weeks, and then ordered the theater, which is in good condition due to it being renovated seven years ago, to be demolished and rebuilt.

The theater was torn down on May 9 just after Kim watched a play there, making his first public appearance since his visit to China early that month. Kim had apparently watched another performance of the same play there on April 27 and after his second visit had enough and ordered it rebuilt.

“It’s strange enough to watch the same play twice in less than two weeks, but it’s even more absurd to order the reconstruction of a building that was renovated just seven years ago,” said a South Korean intelligence official.

However, we should be cautious:

But other experts advise caution. “North Korea has gauged the level of South Korea’s intelligence gathering abilities by monitoring media reports from the South and other countries about Kim Jong-il’s health,” said Sogang University Professor Kim Young-soo. “We need to be more discerning even when it comes to signs pointing to dementia.”

July 1, 2010

Is Kim Jong-il demented? I mean, more than usual

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 2:17 pm

According to the Chosun Ilbo, Kim Jong-il may be showing signs of dementia.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who suffered a massive stroke in 2008, has been displaying signs of memory loss and occasionally talks nonsense, National Intelligence Service chief Won Sei-hoon apparently told the National Assembly’s Intelligence Committee in a closed-door meeting.

[ snip ]

NIS officials apparently showed lawmakers photos of Kim’s swollen left hand, which has been paralyzed since the stroke. The North Korean leader is undergoing therapy and has asked foreign specialists to the country.

If this is true, then the end of North Korea’s current regime could be coming soon, and it probably won’t be pretty.

June 23, 2010

Kim Jong-il may be smoking again; hopefully he’ll die sooner

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 1:17 pm

I know an old lady dictator

who swallowed a fly started smoking again.

I don’t know why

she swallowed a fly he started smoking again.

I guess she’ll hope he’ll die.

– with apologies to the original Mother Goose nursery rhyme

May 17, 2010

Kim Jong-il cut trip short after China’s rebuke

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 7:18 am

Kim Jong-il’s visit to China was scheduled to last from last May 2nd to the 7th, but Kim cut it short and returned home one day early. Why?

According to the Chosun Ilbo:

“Maybe Kim was upset that China mentioned the succession and reform and opening of its economy,” the paper [the Asahi Shimbun] quoted the source as speculating.

However, according to the Joongang Daily:

“At the luncheon between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Kim on May 6, the Chinese government informed the North that China will not provide aid outside the framework of the United Nations Security Council sanctions against Pyongyang,” the source said.

[ snip ]

At the end of the day, he [Zhu Feng, professor at the Peking University’s School of International Studies and deputy director of Center for International and Strategic Studies at the university] said, China didn’t defer to North Korea for the sake of it returning to six-party talks on the shutting of its nuclear weapons program. “Unfortunately, the standoff will continue,” he said.

April 12, 2010

20% of North Korea’s budget is for Kim Jong-il’s personal use

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 7:49 am

Unbelievable. According to Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking North Korean defector, this is North Korea’s budget:

50%: military spending

30%: public services

20%: Kim Jong-il

I know that some people, like Bill Gates, earn more money than some countries in the world, but they don’t take it from taxpayers or captive citizens. Twenty percent of an entire country’s budget for just one man is obscene. And evil.

March 22, 2010

Will Kim Jong-il’s son be formally introduced at N. Korean Parliament?

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 2:05 pm

Will Kim Jong-il’s third son and rumored heir Jong-un be formally introduced at the Supreme People’s Assembly in Pyongyang on April 9? Some think so:

But since the botched currency reform last year, the regime appears impatient about the succession, Prof. Kim Yong-hyun of Dongguk University said.

“If its efforts so far have been tentative, but now they’re getting more systematic,” he said. “So it’s possible that the SPA will appoint Kim to a junior post in the Defense Commission.”

Chung Young-tae, the director of the Korea Institute for National Unification’s Center for North Korean Studies, said, “If Kim junior makes a formal appearance, it will be because he has become a member of the Defense Commission.” He predicted that any successful attempts to manage the fallout of the currency reform will then be touted as the achievement of Kim junior.

But others don’t:

But Prof. Yang Moo-jin of Kyungnam University suggested the North will continue to handle the succession discreetly. “If the North brings the succession issue into the limelight in the current circumstances, it will only aggravate confusion, persuading people that Kim senior’s health is really bad. I don’t think Kim Jong-il will appoint his son to the Defense Commission.”

And here is another bit of information that may be forthcoming at the assembly:

One interesting question is whether Pak Nam-gi, the ousted director of the Workers’ Party’s Planning and Finance Department, will attend, quelling rumors that he was executed by firing squad to take the fall for the currency debacle.

January 30, 2010

Kim Jong-il undergoing daily kidney dialysis? Dead by 2012?

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 1:28 pm

An article in the Chosun Ilbo reports that Kim Jong-il may be undergoing daily kidney dialysis, which would corroborate with an earlier article that predicted that Kim may well be dead by 2012. Of course, given the incredibly secretive nature of North Korea, it’s impossible to know anything for sure. If he were to die, say, tomorrow, then that could collide with the current troubles caused by the recent currency reform to create a perfect storm of chaos. In that case, five trillion dollars might even look like a bargain. And somebody would have to cough up 400,000 troops in a hurry.

December 25, 2009

Report: North Korean currency reform was idea of Kim Jong-il’s son

Filed under: economics, Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 8:41 am

According to this article, the Great North Korean Currency Reform* was the brainchild of Kim Jong-il’s son, Jong-un.

The currency reform was suggested by a team under Kim Jong-un and the senior Kim approved the suggestion, the Open Radio for North Korea reported quoting an “internal source” in North Korea.

The radio said Kim Jong-un’s team judged that North Korea’s economic measure on July 1, 2002 was not proper to be applied for the “Kim Jong-un era” and asserted that the junior Kim, dubbed as the heir to his father, forced the measure to collect cash circulated in the private sector.

The currency reform was designed to create a basis for reform and openness under Kim Jong-un by raising the value of the North Korean currency and countering inflation, the report said.

If true, then Kim Jong-un is responsible for the worst unrest in North Korea in a long time. If he does succeed his father, then the agony that North Koreans have been suffering might look like Disneyland under the new regime.

* Described in detail by Kushibo (here, here, here, here, and here) and One Free Korea (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here)

July 25, 2009

At least somebody is preparing for a future North Korea

Filed under: Kim Jong-il, North Korea — extrakorea @ 3:31 am

According to this article and this similar, older article, a senior official at the U.S. Defense Department has said that they are planning for a future North Korea, possibly one without Kim Jong-il.
Thank goodness someone is making preparations. Take a look at this article by a so-called professor to see the kind of head-in-the-sand mentality that is, unfortunately, prevalent here in the South.

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