When the news media was broadcasting the news of North Koreaís beloved leader Kim Jong-ilís death due to a heart attack, at that time I was at a South Korean metro station waiting for a train. At a nearby restaurant where people were having lunch, I witnessed some kind of mysterious fear in the faces of the South Koreans. Was the death of Kim Jong-il natural or something else? Was it an assassination or was it really just a sudden death? The answer to these questions may never come from the communist controlled North Korean media or any other institution.
The death of their beloved leader who died of heart attack on Saturday while he was traveling on a train was only broadcast by the Korean State television on Monday. Right after Kim Jong-ilís death, the fear, concern and the psychological fear seen in the citizens of South Korea could have a deep meaning. Will there be a war in the Korean Peninsula between the two Koreans again? Will the tension between the north and the south rise again? These were some of the fears seen in the South Koreans.
A Korean national who came to a Nepalese restaurant in Seoul suggested the restaurant manager to move his business to a safer place because a war may soon start in Korea after the death of the North Korean leader. This suggestion given by the Korean shows that there is fear among the Koreans. The South Korean government holding an emergency meeting and keeping its military in high state of alert also proves this.
As I am only a Nepali journalist on a few daysí visit to South Korea, I am not in a situation to say what kind of effects Kim Jong-ilís death will bring in the Korean Peninsula and the east Asia region. But as I am aware of the situation North Korea has been passing through, I can analyze that the death of Kim Jong-il will not only have political and financial effects in the Korean Peninsula alone but its effects will be directly felt by the countries in east Asia.
The worldís economic powers like the United States of America, China, Japan, South Korea are connected to North Koreaís atomic ambitions and the fear and confusion created by the death of Kim Jong-il will directly affect the countries in the Asia Pacific region, and Nepal cannot be exempted from its effects.
Questions now arise on how the new North Korean leadership moves the country forward. Will it follow the traditional method or will it move forward adopting changes according to time? Traditional communist governments have failed and disappeared in 90 countries throughout the world, one after another.
China gained economic success by choosing its own way of development. But North Korea hasnít been able to adopt basic changes like human rights and basic freedom. After Kim il-Sung died, his son Kim Jong-il became the successor and ruled North Korea by adopting Stalinís method. Now, right after the announcement of Kim Jong-ilís death, his son Kim Jong-un has been declared the great successor.
Announcement of a successor, as in the traditional monarchy, is not the normal practice in a communist regime. A communist party is led by a capable leader. But in North Korea, the authority to rule the country has been passed on from father to son, and from son to grandson, following the family practice.
In the long run, this method of rule does not look good for North Korea. This will only give birth to stronger dictators, close doors to economic growth and will take the country into a path of disaster. If this truth is not visualized by Kim Jong-un, his rule will bound to be all the more difficult.
Great successor Kim Jong-un, who studied in Switzerland and has watched modern world politics, economics and information technology from a close perspective will be able to make his country powerful, only if he manages to eradicate hunger, disease and fear and lets his people of North Korea free in the modern world. If he is able to do this, North Korea will not only be an atomic power in the Asia Pacific region, but will also develop into a major economic power. If Kim Jong-un will be able to set his people free from the chains of Stalinís method of rule, which his grandfather Kim il-Sung introduced after setting his country free from the Japanese colonial rule, he would really make himself a true successor of his father, Kim Jong-il.