What Do We Know About North Korea?

Dec 20 2011 @ 7:01pm

Fred Kaplan investigates:

According to various press analyses, the new leader is either a bumbling naïf or a clever, multilingual operator who’s already formed alliances with key generals. He will either push market reforms or preserve the status quo. He will reach out to the West or step up confrontation or do neither. Here’s the real answer: We really don’t know much of anything.

Takashi Yokota thinks the generals are in control:

[S]o far, there’s no evidence of disapproval or disloyalty to Kim Jong-un. Yet recent trends in North Korea suggest the regime is more stable than meets the eye. That’s because for quite some time, the ones in control has been the military, rather than the Kims. Contrary to the popular assumption that Kim Jong-il was the absolute leader, the Dear Leader was more of a figurehead who depended on his generals, instead of the other way around.