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Monday, December 19, 2011

Essay on Impact of Kim Jong-il's death

            As you may know, Kim Jong-il, North Korea’s ruler and dictator, died last Saturday December 17 died while inside a train on his way to give field guidance.  According to news reports, the North Korean people were in pain after hearing reports that their leader has dead due to an “advanced acute myocardial infarction, complicated with a serious heart shock."

            What is the impact of Kim Jong-il’s death for student of history?

Impact of Kim Jong-il’s death

            Historically, the situation in North Korea has always been a very delicate situation. Because of its insistence on developing nuclear weapons and atomic bombs, it had received sanctions from the United Nations.  Technically, it has isolated itself from the family of nations.  Economically, North Korea has also been suffering from the years of mismanagement under Kim Jong-il’s leadership.  The focus on military development is draining is resources causing most of its people to suffer from poverty.

            With the death of Kim Jong-il the situation in North Korea has become even more volatile. Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s son, has been tapped by his late father to assume the leadership role.  Though he is described to have intelligence and leadership abilities, he does not have the experience that his father was able to enjoy before he assumed the highest post in North Korea.  His father did not have the time to groom him as North Korea’s next great leader.  He has also not been able to secure a power base that is loyal to him. 

            As a result, there is now an uncertainty as to the how much support he can get from the ruling elite and the military.  Could a power struggle follow? Is it possible for other military leaders to take the position away from Kim-Jong-un?

            To be able to establish his own reputation and credentials and get the support of the ruling elite, some political analysts say that it is possible that he may feel it necessary to state a crisis and show North Korea’s military strength.  Is an attack on South Korea imminent? Based on this scenario, South Korea has started to alert its military about a possible attack. 

            Another immediate impact of Kim Jong-il’s death is the decline in South Korea’s currency which dropped by 1.8% and stock index which dropped as much as 5% as against the US dollar which gained.  According to financial analyst the uncertainty will continue in a matter of two to three days until the succession in the leadership in North Korea has become clear.


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