A new report out of North Korea says that the country will be ruled by a group of key people, though Kim Jong-il's son will remain the figurehead at the front of the country. According to Reuters, Kim Jong-un; his uncle, Jang Song-thaek; and senior military members will share power following the death of the president, in an effort to keep the regime stable and protect the interests of the ruling class.
Although Kim Jong-un has the support of the military, the younger son of Kim Jong-il has not consolidated enough power to rule on his own and is believed by many (both in and out of the country) to be too inexperienced and unprepared. However, no one in the North Korea leadership wants a power struggle that would threaten to bring down the entire regime, or open the door to Chinese or American intervention. The transition so far has been considered smooth ... and they want to keep it that way.
The same source who spoke to Reuters — someone with "close ties to Pyongyang and Beijing" who "has correctly predicted events in the past" — says the North's missile test on Monday was meant as a warning to the United States, but that they are "unlikely" to conduct a nuclear test unless they are provoked.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.