Kim Jong-un: Why death of North Korea’s dictator could spell disaster for hermit state
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North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un was last seen on May 24, during military talks about the hermit state’s nuclear missile capabilities. Prior to this, the dictator had vanished from public view for nearly three weeks. He conducted a similar disappearing act earlier this year, which led the world to speculate he could have died. At that time, it was thought that a “botched” heart operation to fit a stent had either left him gravely ill or killed him. These rumours were quashed when he was observed at a fertiliser factory’s opening ceremony in Suchon, 30 miles north of the capital Pyongyang. Despite this, some alleged that photographs and videos may have been faked – after the nation doctored media in the past. Others suggested that a lookalike may have been hired. The mystery surrounding his whereabouts during these periods still remains a mystery – and some suggest his sister Kim Yo-jong may be leading the government behind the scenes. But one commentator, who specialises in dictators, claimed that if Kim Jong-un was to die then it could spell disaster for people in North Korea.
Chris Mikul, who penned ‘My Favourite Dictators’ last year, stated that Kim Jong-un may be the “most benevolent” leader to rule the regime so far – despite being a “brutal dictator”.
He attributes this to the years the leader spent studying in Switzerland alongside international students, where he developed a love for video games and basketball.
Since becoming the third ruler of the Kim dynasty in 2011, he has also shown “some concern for welfare” and has put on free concerts for citizens – including one featuring Disney characters.
Mr Mikul believes he became “completely westernised” while being educated and this may make him one of the more stable leaders under the regime – more so, considering they have nuclear weapons.
He told Express.co.uk: “While no one likes to see the continued success of a brutal dictator, if Kim Jong-un had actually died… it’s not necessarily going to be a good thing for the world.
“We know he has got nuclear weapons now, which makes him the most successful Kim because he has managed to attain a goal they were trying to achieve since the Sixties.
“They know nuclear weapons are the insurance policy that will keep the regime in power forever and he’s done it – but he won’t pull the trigger because it would end in the destruction of North Korea.”
Mr Mikul believes that if Kim Jong-un died without a clear successor then a “fight at the top” could cause “the system to break down”, leading to masses fleeing to China, South Korea and Russia.
He told Express.co.uk: “It’s probably better to have Kim Jong-un ruling, which is horrible to say but it appears that the economy is better under him than it has been, or at least as good as it’s ever been under any of the Kims.
“That said, we don’t know what is happening out in the countryside and how many people are still going hungry.”
Mr Mikul cast doubt on the belief that Kim Yo-jong, the ruler’s sister, could rise to power because of the “patriarchal” and “fairly sexist” society established by leadership.
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He argued that if she was “his brother” – rather than his sister – she would stand a greater chance of becoming the heir.
Kim Jong-un is believed to have three children, who could be in the running too, but it is not known whether they are male or female – nor how old they are.
The final outcome, if the dictator was to die, would be the collapse of the dictatorship and the end of the Kim dynasty – which to Mr Mikul could be a terrible disaster.
He predicts this eventuality is unlikely for now but that their rule has to end eventually and when it does it could be a “nightmare”.
Mr Mikul fears that mass suicides may happen after North Koreans realise they have been lied to by their leaders since its inception and they are made aware of reality outside their state.
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He told Express.co.uk: “Once this regime falls everything they have believed in since they were born will dissolve, it will be horrendous
“You have to want the regime to fall eventually but you also have to think about the psychological effect it will have on people there.
“Then the thought of unifying the two Koreas will be hard too, it was difficult enough unifying East and West Germany, there’s still this east and west divide there to this day.
“You have to want a terrible, brutal dictator’s regime to fall but there won’t be joy and liberation that comes when that happens, it will be horrible for a lot of North Koreans.
“In a similar way for example, imagine if something happened on earth that proved that Jesus never existed and there was definitive proof of that – imagine what would happen then.”
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