The death of North Korean Kim Jong-II has raised fears of turbulence in the nuclear armed nation as a sudden and unexpected succession crisis begins. North Korea state media revealed that Kim died on Saturday, at 69, from a massive heart attack and that his third son, Kim Jong-Un will succeed him. Jong-UN, young, inexperienced and a product of North Koreas military dictatorial culture, might feel the need to prove his military strength during this very tense succession period and deploy or take some kind of aggressive tactical measure against South Korea, Japan or U.S. interests. Illinois Senator Mark Kirk (R) described this situation as “highly tense” in an audio interview early this morning with theChicago Tribune.
According to Senator Kirk’s audio interview, “little is known about the young man as the heirs were captives of a military dictatorship in which emphasis on military moves to demonstrate strength is the norm and to be expected…”Jong-Un is said to be, according to Kirk, less of a playboy and more responsible than the other brothers. However, because the change to leadership came so suddenly when North Korea wasn’t ready, we can expect the potential for some destabilizing action against Japan, S. Korea and the U.S. Whatever power struggle is happening, our allies must be assured by the U.S. government tonight, that we stand prepared to back them. A message to our allies should be sent by the administration tonight.”Senator Kirk went on to state that we have thousands of troops in the area.
Very little is known about Kim Jong-Un. He was educated in Swiss and North Korean schools. He admires “tough guy” Hollywood stars. Since his father took ill in 2008 he was at his father’s side. In 2010 his father, Kim Jong II began preparing him with the outward trappings of experience making him a four star general and placing him in top party posts. Kim Jong-Un has neither military nor political organizational skills. Efforts at maintaining stability during this period of succession will be of primary concern to the young inexperienced leader.
Experts on North Korean geopolitics view this as a major turn of events to be watched carefully. Bruce Klinger of the Heritage Foundation echoes the view of Senator Kirk. He said, “Kim’s death raises real concern about stability. North Korean provocative behavior or military action is unlikely in the near-term”. “However, Seoul and Washington will be wary that Kim Jung-Un may in the future precipitate a crisis to prove his mettle to other senior leaders or to generate a ‘rally around the flag’ effect.” (www.news.comau/ 12/19/11)