News / Asia

North Korean Dissident: Kim Jong Un is Inexperienced

North Korean Dissident: Kim Jong Un Is Unexperiencedi
April 11, 2013 11:48 AM
North Korean Dissident: Kim Jong Un Is Unexperienced
Zlatica Hoke
As tensions escalate on the Korean Peninsula with Pyongyang warning foreigners to leave and closing an industrial complex on the border with South Korea, many around the world are wondering what prompted the communist country to provoke its neighbors and the rest of the world. 

Analysts have offered various views on why North Korea's young leader Kim Jong Un is focused on strengthening the military instead of trying to improve the well-being of his impoverished people. 

Tensions Rising on Korean Peninsula

  • February 12: North Korea carries out third nuclear test
  • March 27: North Korea cuts military hotline with South Korea
  • March 28: U.S. B-2 bombers fly over Korean peninsula
  • March 30: North Korea says it has entered a "state of war" with South Korea
  • April 3: North Korea blocks South Korean workers from Kaesong
  • April 4: North Korea moves a missile to its east coast
  • April 9: North Korea urges foreigners to leave the South.  The U.S. and South Korea raise alert level
  • April 14: US Secretary of State John Kerry offers talks with Pyongyang if it moves to scrap nuclear weapons
  • April 16: North Korea issues threats after anti-Pyongyang protests in Seoul
  • April 29: North Korea holds back seven South Koreans at Kaesong
  • April 30: North Korea sentences American to 15 years hard labor for hostile acts
  • May 20: North Korea fires projectiles for a consecutive third day
  • May 24: North Korean envoy wraps up China visit for talks on Korean tensions
  • June 7: South Korea accepts Pyongyang's offer of talks on Kaesong and other issues
A former North Korean spy who now lives in South Korea has provided a rare insight into the inner workings of the secretive state and its young leader. 

"Kim Jong Un is too young and too inexperienced.  He's struggling to gain complete control over the military and to win their loyalty,'' said Kim Hyun Hee speaking to Australia's ABC television at an undisclosed location. 

She helped plant a bomb on a South Korean airliner in 1987 that killed 115 people on board.  South Korean authorities captured her and sentenced her to death. But she was pardoned after it was determined that she had been brainwashed by the North.

Kim says there are reasons behind Kim Jong Un's threats.

"North Korea is using its nuclear program to keep its people in line and to push South Korea and the United States for concessions,'' she said.

Others agree. Suzanne DiMaggio, an expert at the Asia Society, says the regime is mainly looking for ways to keep power.

"If you look at the situation in North Korea itself... Economically, in terms of humanitarian aspects, it is in dire straits. So it is very well likely that the regime is using April 15th, Founder's Day, and this huffing and puffing of its military might as a way to rally the people and stoke nationalism within the country to support this new leader," said DiMaggio.

Military analysts say that despite the threats, the North Korean 1.2 million-strong military is showing no signs of preparing for war.  But they say Pyongyang is likely to engage in some provocative action, such as firing a missile or testing a nuclear weapon, to mark the birthday of North Korea's founder and the current leader's grandfather, Kim Il Sung.

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Comment Sorting
by: Ngor Ngor Matem from: Kampala, Uganda.
April 11, 2013 5:44 PM
What has been doing by Kim Jong Un will never ever succeeds only that they want to caused insecurity and if U.S accept to touch that itching part, it will remain un curable wounds forever, therefore, United States of America and South Korea must took strong initiative against North Korea if they are threat to world peace.

by: Haron from: Afghanistan
April 11, 2013 1:29 PM
@John... every country is not Iraq or Afghanistan or USA that surrounded by tens of tens nationalities or opinions. Iran is one nation, one mission, one view and one language as same as North Korea. now it is 2013 if you discus about war I challenge you that 4013 will come and no country could be able shot one bullet to Iran territory. Iran is socialism country and number one racist after Germany. thus, first you must study about politic then come and comment here.

by: NVO from: USA
April 11, 2013 11:16 AM
Hes a little Mommys boy from his cushy lifestyle in SWITZERLAND.

by: John from: USA
April 11, 2013 11:09 AM
US and its allies don't let the Evil slave kim jong un's missiles out off N. Korea territory and bring this stupid young gangster to the judgement like Saddam Hussein ten years ago. This is a good sample for Iran to learn, and the next step go to Iran nuclear program too.

by: Wingnut from: Michigan
April 11, 2013 10:26 AM
Phew, that was one seriously biased piece. Kim Jong Un asks that Obama give him a call, and Obama sends B2's to South Korea and extends military "exercises" there? C'mon VOA! Tell the story from both sides, huh? I tend to think that North Korea is actually responding and reacting to US and South Korean "threats". North Korea has every right to try to defend itself against USA terrorism. So does Iran.

by: cliff from: Peru
April 11, 2013 10:06 AM
If they fire a missile, shoot it down as soon as it leaves the North Korea airspace.

by: barth787
April 11, 2013 9:51 AM
I hope we shoot the missle down.

by: Stephen Real from: Columbia USA
April 11, 2013 9:31 AM
North Korea wants to reopen the Kaesong manufacturing zone after they shoot their missile. Secretary John Kerry should implore the South to delay the re-opening for months as to punish the belligerent prince after all this malarkey he has put US through.
In Response

by: Wingnut from: Michigan
April 13, 2013 10:31 AM
What "Malarkey", Stephen? They moved a missile in their own country. The US media getting all drama-queened over it... and trying to fool themselves that they are some kind of international; police agency... was strictly self-choice, don't ya think? The USA did a self-inflicted hinder-binder, ya know? North Korea (Kim) has only asked one thing of the USA... and that's that Obama give him a call. What one SHOULD be asking one's self is... WHY that hasn't happened.

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