Kim Jong’s Ill

Amid fears that Kim Jong-il’s death is imminent, the WPK (Workers Party of Korea) has been thrown once again into the headlines of the media. Their notorious leader is believed to have suffered another stroke, following his earlier stroke in 2008.

Jong-il is expected to name his successor during the next week, and speculation suggests that his third son, Kim Jong-un, will take over the leadership of the party. But where does that leave North Korea with regards to the modern world?

Many have suggested that Jong-il has driven North Korea away from any good relations with the Western world, and with little to no communication permitted to the outside world, North Korea is a very secretive state of Asia. Could that all change if Jong-un takes over, however?

Although little is known about the sons of Jong-il, it is believed the heir to the leadership is to be placed in the hands of a man in his mid twenties, who was educated in Switzerland during part of his youth. Could this imply that there may be foundations of a relationship with the Western world and an end to the nuclear arms threat that North Korea poses?

If the United Nations acted quickly after the appointment of a new leader, it could stop a potential nuclear war by offering support to the country and build up relations before it is too late. Another Vietnam war does not sound like a prospect many would be willing to face, so this is potentially a chance to douse the fire before it rages.

However, a problem could arise in that with naiveity comes irresponsibility. With a rumoured ever growing nuclear arms programme, and relations strong between North Korea and China, this could signal bad news for international diplomacy between East and West. It could ignite a cold war through fear of attack from either side, with super powers locked in an intense battle.

With the state of trading as it is in today’s economic climate, and with approximately 30 % of all UK imports coming from China, it is easy to see how much of an effect on the economy a cold war would have. And that is being optomistic that no nation turns to nuclear armament to defend or attack.

A meeting is due to be held next week in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, and hopes of a more liberal WPK leader would be the music the rest of the world is awaiting. Otherwise a tense future may lie ahead if there is another fascist dictator at the helm of a powerful nation such as North Korea.


One Response

  1. I agree with what you are saying, however, the only real alternative is former heir presumptive Kim Jong-nam and I would not describe him as being ‘liberal’ by any stretch of the imagination. He fell out of favour with Kim Jong following a humiliating 2001 incident in Japan, embarassing for all countries involved, which is apparantly the main reason Jong-nam was striked in the first place.

    He has also expressed his extreme disinterest in assuming North Korea’s leadership and seems as, if not more of a loose cannon than his father. I think whichever way the power goes, liberalism is a long time coming…

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