News / Asia

North Korean Dissident: Kim Jong Un is Inexperienced

North Korean Dissident: Kim Jong Un Is Unexperiencedi
X
April 11, 2013
North Korean Dissident: Kim Jong Un Is Unexperienced
TEXT SIZE - +
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.

You May Like

Analysts Warn of Regional Proxy Conflict in Afghanistan

Analysts warn if Kabul’s neighbors do not start to cooperate, competing desires for influence could deteriorate into a bloody proxy war in the country More

Saudi Intelligence Chief Replaced

Bandar bin Sultan came under criticism for supporting al Qaida, prompting King Abdallah to wrest Syria operations away from him in February, handing them to Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef More

Poetry Magazine editor Don Share talks what makes a good poem with VOA's David Byrd

What makes a good poem? And is poetry as viable an art form as it once was? To find out, VOA's David Byrd spoke to Don Share, the editor of Poetry Magazine. More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid