What’s Next for North Korea After Kim’s Death?
ABC News via Yahoo News
The death of Kim Jong Il likely puts the leadership of North Korea into the hands of an even more mysterious man, his son, Kim Jong Un, fueling speculation about a struggle for power in the reclusive nation, and with that control of a nuclear arsenal and the world’s fourth-largest military.
Former US Ambassador to South Korea Donald Gregg says he is more optimistic about the future of North Korea with the death of its “dear leader,” because Kim Jong Un may be able to move the country more in line with the west.
“There has been a generational change in the top leadership. Some of the 70- and 80-year-olds, really hard-line people, have faded away,” said Gregg.
Gregg says the change in leadership does not mean the country will flex its nuclear muscles, because Kim Jong Un will “need to provide stability in a changing time and that could mean no rash moves.”
“This is potentially a very positive development because the upcoming year is a year of transition,” Gregg said.
Kim Jong Il death: Who’s who in the Kim family?
Los Angeles Times
Who’s who in Kim Jong Il’s family? Here’s a primer on the Kim family, which led one of the world’s most enduring dictatorships, a repressive regime that has long defied predictions of its demise. It survived from the end of World War II into the 21st century while many of its people went hungry.
Kim Jong Il death: Powerful uncle could overshadow Kim’s son
Los Angeles Times
North Korean media extolled Kim Jong Un on Monday as the “great successor” and the “outstanding leader of our party, army and people.”
But it’s not so simple. The young man is likely to be overshadowed by a powerful uncle, Jang Sung Taek.
Jang, 65, is married to Kim Jong Il’s younger sister and has spent three decades in the ruling Workers’ Party, holding key positions in the military and secret police and running North Korea’s special economic zones. His family members also hold powerful jobs with the military.
In contrast, the chosen successor has a thin resume. He attended a German-language public high school in Bern, Switzerland, where he was registered as the son of a North Korean diplomat. His classmates described him as crazy about basketball and computer games.
Until September 2010, when the overweight young man with a dimpled face was named a four-star general, he was almost entirely unknown to the North Korean public. Even the exact spelling of his name was a state secret.
In O.C., relief, worry over Kim’s death
Orange County Register
The headlines in the Korean press were greeted with relief and worry in Orange County’s Korean-American community: “Kim Jong Il Dead,” and nobody was quite sure what would come next.
Tens of thousands of Orange County residents come from South Korea, and thousands more have family ties to the nation that has long lived with the threat of the north and its mercurial leader. They followed the news of Kim’s death with the safety of friends and family in mind.
“The situation in the Korean Peninsula has been very fragile” even before Kim’s death, said Joe Pak, a board member of the Korean American Federation of Orange County. “We’d like to have a very stable situation with North Korea.”
Kim Jong Il Dead: Top 10 Crazy Facts
Kim the Movie Buff
Kim was a major film buff, and reportedly owned 10,000 to 20,000 DVDs, many of which were Hollywood films. Some of his favorite movies include the 1980s slasher flick “Friday the 13th,” the Sylvester Stallone action flick “Rambo” and the Japanese classic “Godzilla.”
Kim Jong Il’s death: North Korean defectors speak out
Los Angeles Times
They are a group with much to lose in the aftermath of the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il: defectors who have fled the secretive regime and have little access to information about family members back home.
On Monday, several former North Koreans now living in Seoul talked about their feelings concerning the death of a man many called a dreaded tyrant.
“I didn’t get chance to call my hometown yet because it costs a lot of money. I am not so worried about my relatives. If they were elites, I would be extra-concerned, but my folks are common people,” said Kang Cheol-ryong, a 28-year-old defector who’s now attending a university in Seoul. “But I know that dangers lurk. Until the mourning period ends, they should not drink, sing, have fun, play or laugh. So they should be careful.”
Kang, who is president of his college’s Students for Peace and Unification Assn., said he fears for his countrymen as Kim Jong Il’s youngest son, Kim Jong Un, is set to assume control of the Pyongyang regime.
Europe Cautious in Reaction to Kim Jong-il’s Death
European officials reacted with a mix of hope and watchfulness to the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and apparent power transition to his son. Reactions in Europe have been slow and cautious to the news of Kim Jong-il’s demise.
British Foreign Secretary William Hague sounded a hopeful note, suggesting the North Korean leader’s death from an apparent heart attack could be the turning point for the Asian nation.
In a statement, Hague expressed hope the new North Korean leadership would engage with the international community and work for peace and security in the region.
Germany’s Foreign Ministry said there is always hope for change, but that Western expectations remain the same — that North Korea give up its nuclear program and improve the plight of its people.
Margaret Cho: I Was Once Kim Jong Il
Wall Street Journal
North Korea is an unsolved mystery. I once had family there, and now the family ties, cut for so long because of the separation of the Koreas into north and south, have healed over into non-existence. Perhaps there is a scar there, an infinitesimal tear in some great grandmother’s conscience, but I don’t even know her. No one in my family remembers her name, so it’s like she never existed. We from the south and we from the north now are separate and at best, indifferent. At worst, hateful in the terrible way of civil war and the brutal animosity of a country divided is capable of. Do we despise ourselves more when we are ourselves?
When I got the part of Kim Jong Il in the fantastic television program “30 Rock,” I approached the role with the zeal of Cate Blanchett transforming herself into Bob Dylan. I remembered once I heard a story of the celebrated actress Glenn Close being seen wearing dark glasses and waiting for a wheelchair in an airplane, feeling the air in front of her as if she were blind, and thinking this is what an actor must do to prepare. Live it. Do it for real.