Kim Jong-Un

There is a temptation to think of the two Koreas as twins. But certainly not identical twins. After Japan surrendered to the United States and the Soviet Union in August 1945 (the Soviets had only been in the war for days … really just for days!), battered Tokyo relinquished the peninsula it had seized and brutalized from 1910 onwards. Korea had gone through nearly a half century of both imperialism and colonialism, quite different manifestations of similar instincts, and was left again as a captive nation. With a difference, of course.

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The death of North Korea’s “Dear Leader,” Kim Jong Il, marks the end of his 17 years of strict control over the starved and crumbling state. While his eccentricities were often worthy of parody—the overblown legend involving new stars and double rainbows pronouncing his birth, thousands of books penned, and one strikingly good round of golf—his reign was marked more distinctly by the extreme suffering of the North Korean people.

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The death of Kim Jong-Il is not only an opportunity to reflect on the manifest crimes he committed against the people of North Korea, but also to consider just how heavily his devious regime now weighs in calculations about international security. The uncertain future of the Hermit Kingdom is a matter of especially grave importance to the five countries—the United States, China, Japan, Russia, and South Korea—that have intermittently engaged with it since 2003 in the Six-Party Talks.

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Shock at the news of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il’s death is giving way to nervousness about what might come next for the already-unstable Korean peninsula. The initial signs are that Kim Jong-un, the deceased leader’s youngest son, will succeed his father. But will the country’s elites accept Kim Jong-un as a leader? What are the chances of internal opposition, or even a coup against the Kim dynasty? Because North Korea is so isolated, predicting its future is notoriously difficult.

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Generation Why

Seoul—When the sleepy South Korean town of Pyeongchang was announced as the host of the 2018 Winter Olympics last month, Seoul went to unusual lengths to share the honor with its neighbor to the north. Both major parties vowed to pursue an inter-Korean team, and opposition leaders even spoke of co-hosting the games with North Korea.

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The best way to understand North Korea is to think of it not as a traditional nation-state, but as a nuclear-armed organized crime family, albeit one that will soon find itself in need of a new boss.

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In the next few days—perhaps Thursday—the Korean Workers’ Party will begin its national conference, the first since 1966. The meeting, according to state media, will “mark a meaningful chapter in the history of our party.” Some reports indicate that the gathering already started on Monday, with the registration of participants. The event, the third in the history of North Korea, is the result of a national mass mobilization. South Korean sources say military units have been converging on Pyongyang, presumably to take part in a show of might.

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In the next few days—perhaps Thursday—the Korean Workers’ Party will begin its national conference, the first since 1966. The meeting, according to state media, will “mark a meaningful chapter in the history of our party.” Some reports indicate that the gathering already started on Monday, with the registration of participants. The event, the third in the history of North Korea, is the result of a national mass mobilization. South Korean sources say military units have been converging on Pyongyang, presumably to take part in a show of might.

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 What's this stuff about sacred war coming from a Godless communist  country? OK, revolutionary governments usually exaggerate, Pyongyang  is no exception. In fact, it is a prime instance of such behavior. It cannot feed its own people, and its democratic enemy/neighbor to  the south has been doing just that for them. This does not pacify Kim  Jong Il, the Stalinist leader, nor apparently will it pacify the sick  old man's designated successor, Kim Jong-un, his son, age not quite  known. Do you notice how ‘progressive’ tyrannies have royalist  habits?

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A seven-member United Nations panel—yes, even a U.N. panel—without stammer and without dodging yesterday accused North Korea of providing banned nuclear and ballistic missile technology to Iran and Syria. The news was reported by the Associated Press, Ha'aretz, the Global Security Newswire of the NTI (an outfit founded by Sen. Richard Lugar and former senator Sam Nunn) and Reuters. The U.N.

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