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PacNet #70 – The Kim is Dead! Long Live the Kim?

Kim Jong-il is dead. This we pretty much know for sure. This, plus the revelation, which should have come as a surprise to no one, that the North Korean people are being called upon to “faithfully revere respectable comrade Kim Jong-un,” his third son and chosen “great successor.” Beyond this, we’re mostly guessing. Some guesses are pretty safe bets. The North announced that Kim died of a massive coronary; while other rumors are already starting – conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this one, given the opaque nature of North Korea – I tend to believe the announced time (Saturday AM, Korea time), place (on a train for a field guidance tour outside Pyongyang), and cause of death. One can even buy the story that the heart attack was brought about by “physical and mental overwork.” All reports had indicated that Kim was steadily recovering from his 2008 stroke and fully back at work; he did after all make multiple trips to China and Russia in the past few years. Heart attacks are nature’s way of telling you to slow down!