Could a change of leader change North Korea?

15 09 2010

North Korea is set to witness the process of only its second transition of power in 60 years. Many Korea-watchers see the imminent convening of the Korean Workers’ Party Conference as a move to pave the way to designate Kim Jong-un, Kim Jong-il’s twenty-something son, as his successor.

Kim Jong-il earlier this month visited China, meeting President Hu Jin Tao, in a trip that was seen by some analysts as seeking the approval of North Korea’s ally for this nepotistic move. However, there are no reports that Kim Jong-un was with his father.

The Chinese have said very little about the succession, but Beijing has expressed support for a resumption of the stalled six nation talks on North Korea’s nuclear future, with the prospect of finding a way to end Pyongyang’s isolation. This is seen as essential if there is to be any prospect of reviving the DPRK’s crippled economy.

In contrast with the North,  South Korea continues to thrive on its manufacturing economy, but is nonetheless deeply affected by the current strains, and by the sinking of the Cheonan warship, an inquiry into which remains inconclusive. Japan also remains at risk and concerned by the lack of resolution to the Korean conflict. Only the United States still has 28,500 forces (including nearly 9000 USAF personnel) tied up in Korea  and conducts risky military exercises near the Demilitarised Zone and disputed Northern Limit Line…

“Today’s threats to North East Asia: Could a change of leader change North Korea?” by Dr. Leonid Petrov, the University of Sydney.

Hosted by: Australian Institute of International Affairs, NSW Branch
The event will start on: Tuesday, 21 September 2010 at 6:00 PM
At The Glover Cottages, 124 Kent Street , Sydney, NSW
Tel: +61(2) 8011 4728     nsw.branch@aiia.asn.au

Register on-line here…

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