News that North Korea’s long-standing ruler Kim Jong-il has died left western political analysts confused about what might happen next.
Little wonder. As just about everyone in Korea is called Kim something-or-other (or something-or-other Kim) just sorting out who’s who might take many months.
Defence minister, General Kim Long-bang said the nation had lost an inspiring leader and champion of the people. The head of the Peoples Revolutionary Party, General Kim All-win, echoed the sentiment. “Kim Jong-il will be as greatly missed as his father, Kim Il-sung, but we are safe in the hands of his beloved son Kim Jong-un.”
Kim Jong-un’s older, Paris-educated brothers Kim Jong-deux and Kim Jong-trois could not be reached for comment.
Meanwhile, the man organizing the state funeral, North Korea’s head of protocol and public spokesman, Kim Pee-ar, said the former leader would be given a farewell fit for a hero. Kim Pee-ar will be assisted by chief of the armed forces Kim Long-un, and the head of the navy, Kim See-sik.
Many observers of the North Korean hierarchy believe that several military leaders, little-known outside the country, will have a great deal of influence on a Kim Jong-un regime. One is head of the air force, General Kim Fly-bi. Another is head of the secret service Kim He-spi.
An exiled dissident, Kim Fuk-em, reached at his home in Geneva, speculated that the passing of Kim Jong-il could herald a start of a new, more liberal, at least more flexible regime, or, alternatively, a less liberal, more rigid regime, depending on which set of Kims emerged to exercise real power.
Fascinating and dangerous times lie ahead.
All of which leads me to wonder, whatever happened to that delightful Hollywood actress Kim Nov-ak?