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North Korean Politics and China, by Jack Pritchard and L. Gordon Flake

North Korean Politics and China, by Jack Pritchard and L. Gordon Flake

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The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on December 17, 2011 has prematurely set in motion the leadership changes that were anticipated in 2012. To be sure, a leadership change in North Korea in 2012 was not a given, but the transitional preparation that was begun in earnest in September 2010 with the naming of Kim’s third son, Kim Jong-un, to a series of leadership positions as the designated successor was expected to continue in a serious vein. Kim Jong-un’s arrival so early in 2012 restructures how the remainder of the anticipated leadership changes in Northeast Asia will be viewed. Instead of waiting to see how political transitions in China, South Korea, Russia and the United States might influence the succession process in North Korea, it is the sudden change in Pyongyang that could now have more of an impact in South Korea’s National Assembly election in April and its presidential election in December. While events in North Korea are unlikely to have much of an impact on other leadership changes in the region, it will force U.S. presidential candidates to address a new dynamic when they (however briefly) talk about U.S. policy toward North Korea.
The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il on December 17, 2011 has prematurely set in motion the leadership changes that were anticipated in 2012. To be sure, a leadership change in North Korea in 2012 was not a given, but the transitional preparation that was begun in earnest in September 2010 with the naming of Kim’s third son, Kim Jong-un, to a series of leadership positions as the designated successor was expected to continue in a serious vein. Kim Jong-un’s arrival so early in 2012 restructures how the remainder of the anticipated leadership changes in Northeast Asia will be viewed. Instead of waiting to see how political transitions in China, South Korea, Russia and the United States might influence the succession process in North Korea, it is the sudden change in Pyongyang that could now have more of an impact in South Korea’s National Assembly election in April and its presidential election in December. While events in North Korea are unlikely to have much of an impact on other leadership changes in the region, it will force U.S. presidential candidates to address a new dynamic when they (however briefly) talk about U.S. policy toward North Korea.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI) on Jun 07, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/08/2013

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ASIA AT A TIPPING POINT:KOREA, THE RISE OF CHINA,AND THE IMPACT OFLEADERSHIP TRANSITIONS
 
EDITORINCHIEF:GILBERT ROZMAN
Vol. 23
2012
JOINTU.S.KOREAACADEMICSTUDIES
 
Joint U.S.-Korea Academic Studies
2012Volume 23Editor-in Chief:Gilbert Rozman, Princeton University 

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