ANALYSIS OF CONTRIBUTING FACTORS BEHIND PYONGYANG’S BELLIGERENT STANCE AND THREATS OF INSTABILITY IN NORTH KOREA

Dean Karalekas

Abstract


The relationship that North Korea has with the outside world has no parallels, and without any real understanding of the internal dynamics of the country, global powers such as the United States, Europe and China are generally content to promote stability of the Kim regime as the least undesirable outcome of any rapid change that might occur. With the death of the Dear Leader Kim Jong Il, the international community held its collective breath in the hope that chaos would not ensue. Kim’s appointed heir, third son Kim Jong Un, has recently engaged in a level of binksmanship beyond even what his father employed, forcing the global community to begin re-assessing the prospects for medium- to long-term stability in North Korea. This article examines three scenarios that were widely anticipated to have taken place with the change in power: That the death of Kim Jong Il would lead to a popular uprising such as a Jasmine Revolution; That Kim Jong Un would fail to hold on to power and thus give way to a palace coup; and that elite powerholders in Pyongyang would rally support for the younger Kim and continue to run the country much as it was run by Kim Jong Il. This article further explains why the former two possibilities were doomed to failure, and why the latter outcome proved to be the one road chosen. Moreover, given this development, and in the face of the recent events on the Korean Peninsula, there are reasons to suspect that fissures could form in the long run, leading to disunity of the regime and a possible loss of stability. 


Keywords


North Korea; Regime Change; Jasmine Uprising; Pyongyang; Korean Stability



Economic Analysis of Law Review  -  ISSN 2178-0587

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