The North Korean Faultline

Security experts in both China and America are concerned about the direction the hermit regime is headed under Kim Jong-Un.

By Farhan Zahid

The hermit state known as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or more popularly North Korea, and its eccentric leader, Kim Jong-Un, have become even more of an international migraine than they already were. Kim Jong-Un’s new statements concerning nuclear tests and his unswerving insistence on building intercontinental ballistic missiles have galvanized foreign governments against the pariah state. The assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Kim Jong-Nam, in Malaysia by North Korean agents has also created an upheaval in regional politics. Ruling over what is seen as one of the worst and most corrupt totalitarian societies in the world, the junta in charge appears to be deeply unstable. Tensions are rising on the Korean Peninsula, and North Korea’s nuclear ambitions, combined with its race to develop long-range ballistic missiles, which would be in the hands of an unpredictable despot, are at the center of these concerns.

Crises Under an Eccentric Despot

Of all countries in the world, the situation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is perhaps the most peculiar. Even among the three remaining communist states of the Cold War era, North Korea presents a unique case. Under its aberrant leader Kim Jong-Un, the grandson of founder Kim Il-Sung, the country has languished under the worst form of totalitarianism since its birth, and matters have not improved since the 33-year old Swiss-educated supreme leader of North Korea took over on the death of his father, Kim Jong-Il, in 2011. Hopes that his time in the West would make him amenable to improving relations with the rest of the world were dashed, as he revealed himself to be as tyrannical as his forebears, and even worse at managing the state’s affairs. Not content with having hundreds sent to his country’s gulags, he has had even uncles and other close relatives of his executed as he asserts his authority. The most recent case is the …

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