News / Asia

North Korean Dissident: Kim Jong Un is Inexperienced

North Korean Dissident: Kim Jong Un Is Unexperiencedi
X
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.

You May Like

New England Bears Brunt of US Blizzard

Boston, surrounding region grapple with as much as 3 feet of snow, coastal flooding; leaders in New York, spared most severe weather, criticized for being overly cautious More

China Lifts Lid on Sale of Fake Goods Online

A recent survey found nearly 60 percent of a random sample of items bought from Taobao were fake More

Upward Aims to Create Old-girls Network in Silicon Valley

Lisa Lambert, an executive with Intel Corp.'s venture-capital unit, responds to the gender-disparity debate by creating a new social organization 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.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid