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November 16, 2004

More 'Axis of Evil' News, Consort's Death Rocks Kim Jong-il

Topics: International News

Not exactly breaking news, but the article in Australia's Sunday Times on the death of Kim Jong-il's consort is interesting. It seems that the North Korean hardliners are also sad, but not because of the consort's death, rather the failure of John Kerry to be elected:

HARDLINERS have tightened their political grip on North Korea while Kim Jong-il, the Stalinist state's dictator, has retreated into virtual seclusion after the death of his favourite consort from cancer.

As Japanese envoys tried to persuade the North Koreans last week to rejoin multinational talks, Mr Kim's absence from the scene led to speculation a debilitating power struggle might have paralysed the ruling group. Chinese and Western sources say the regime has prepared for a state of siege as it confronts a re-elected US administration under George W. Bush that is determined to break Pyongyang and disarm it of nuclear weapons.

This followed the death of Koh Young-hee, a dancer who had provided Mr Kim with an heir-apparent to the world's only communist dynasty. "The loss of this woman was a blow," said a foreign diplomat.  (Sunday Times Article)

However, what may provide some indication of what is really going on in North Korea, the article included the comment "But (US Democratic candidate) John Kerry's loss in the US election was a harder one. These are now very worried men."

Clearly, the re-election of President Bush eliminates the possibility of simple bilateral talks such as occured during the Clinton administration (courtesy of the inept former President Carter), and North Korea is falling apart so rapidly that it is in dire need for a solution with the West.

For a more general perspective on persistant health, safety, and survival problems in North Korea we can look back to Sept 2 in David Scofield's article (Scofield is a former lecturer at the Graduate Institute of Peace Studies, Kyung Hee University) when he wrote that With so much senseless death and suffering in North Korea, it's hard to be too concerned about the death of one like Koh. Scores of ordinary North Koreans perished from treatable ailments over the past year while the elite, such as Koh, secured the best treatment abroad, regardless of expense. The death of Kim Jong-il's favorite is noteworthy because it underscores the fragility of the succession and the potential for instability at the zenith of power in North Korea. (Read more on David's article)

Chrenkoff has a little more on this and apparently intends to follow-up on the story.  

Posted by Hyscience at November 16, 2004 10:08 AM

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