|"To that six-year-old kid who will someday run North Korea!"|
Remember when I surmised that the Radiant Leader could be North Korea's Gorbachev or at least it's Deng Xiaoping? If you can't remember or if you're new to the Island, see here, here, and here.
Anyway, if Reuters is correct, we might be finding this out sooner rather than later:
Impoverished North Korea is gearing up to experiment with agricultural and economic reforms after young leader Kim Jong-un and his powerful uncle purged the country's top general for opposing change, a source with ties to both Pyongyang and Beijing said.The ouster of Ri Yongho is itself a major story, with the Chosun Ilbo reporting that the Vice Marshal went down with guns blazing, leaving perhaps dozens dead. (Seriously, that almost sounds like the opening shots of a civil war, or arguably a twisted sort of coup.) If those reports are true, it could mean the military is facing two stark choices: either give up their starring role and the power that comes with it, or decide that they've had enough of the Young General's antics and boot the Kim Dynasty from power.
The source added that the cabinet had created a special bureau to take control of the decaying economy from the military, one of the world's largest, which under Kim's father was given pride of place in running the country.
The downfall of Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho and his allies gives the untested new leader and his uncle Jang Song-thaek, who married into the Kim family dynasty and is widely seen as the real power behind the throne, the mandate to try to save the battered economy and prevent the secretive regime's collapse.
The source has correctly predicted events in the past, including North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006 days before it was conducted, as well as the ascension of Jang.
[UPDATE: Joshua at One Free Korea takes a detailed look at the sacking/shooting/drowning/illing of Ri Yongho.]
Many of us would like to believe that all this recent intrigue means the Swiss-educated, Michael Jordan-loving Kim Jong-un really is a reformer on wolf's clothing and that he has the cojones (and the acumen) to push his reformist ideas past the dinosaurs in the nappŭn nomenklatura.
Reuters seems to think this is a possibility, although this all could merely be the result of Big Brother China's efforts to mold the DPRK into the PRC's post-Deng image, and KJU and his handlers know that's the surest way to hold onto power for the next generation or two (the CCCP certainly isn't going anywhere anytime soon).