North Korea's Predicament

When Kim Jong Il died, scrutiny increased on North Korea, a country which world powers like Japan and US are already watching.

The death of the leader was reminiscent of what happened in China when Mao Zedong died – everyone mourned for their late leader, even though he was a blur and mostly unknown character to the children. Another strange situation has also occurred in both Communist countries – even though their leader was a dictator, apparently their citizens still loved and worshiped him like a god. For example, the aggressive actions of North Korea had resulted in sanctions on the country, creating a food shortage in the country. Despite this, Kim Jong Il was not repentant, starving his people in order to push for his ideals. However, the people were fearful of being punished, and were also ignorant of the situation outside North Korea. At first, the people were even tricked to believe that Kim Jong Il had died of a heart attack instead of cancer. Thus, it can be observed how dangerous it is when there is a lack of press freedom. The international community is fully aware of Kim Jong Il’s misdemeanor. He wears branded clothes, and lives a lavish lifestyle while his citizens are starving and suffering. More importantly, the North Korean government has repeatedly refused to participate in talks and negotiations asking them to abandon their nuclear weapons program. This might change under the new ruler, Kim Jong Un, as he seems much more likely to cooperate. However, at this point, North Korea does not seem to be trying to take any steps to reform its economy and improve the welfare of its citizens. Kim Jong Un, seems to be faithfully following the ideals of his father, and is using the same propaganda machine on the North Koreans to cement his grip on power. One advantage of this is that changes will be gradual and predictable, and the country’s neighbours should not be duly alarmed for now.

This may be the calm before the storm. There are still some new threats that may arise in the future. Even though the younger Kim would be in control of the country’s nuclear program, and he has stated that he will not share his power with anyone else, his uncle Jang Sung-Taek and his aunt Kim Kyong-Hui, who are known hardliners, will be his mentors. Therefore, it cannot be easily assumed that Kim Jong Un will not be able to rule his country well. Furthermore, the US army has found out that North Korea has already built both medium range and long range ballistic missiles, and analyst predict that the nuclear warheads produced will be used on its missiles. This has brought about a lot of worry in the Western countries. China, who shared the same Communist idealogy as North Korea in the past, and is also the economic supporter for the country, is expected to have the best influence over the country and its actions. Therefore, other countries like Japan and the US has arranged talks with China to try to convince it to North Korea.

In my opinion, I feel that the culture of Koreans in general that they were not to question their leaders and just follow their orders have led them into this sticky situation. The leaders could take advantage of the citizen’s trust in them and implement whatever rules he wanted, abusing citizens. However, this will not last for long as news of the country not treating its citizens well will eventually leak out. From there, there would be international pressure for them to stop their mistreatment or their development on military instead of help for the people. Sooner or later, North Korea will discover that they cannot continue to oppress the people for much longer – the isolation of the country from the rest of the world have resulted in the country being backward in many areas, and the people may even rise up to revolt against them.

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Hi guys, I'm a student in Singapore, and this are some thoughts and essays I have written over the years.