N. Korean leader learning through trial and error
Of late, the young North Korean leader had made a few blunders in foreign policy, evidence he is learning through trial and error.
The North’s wrong choices of rhetoric and warnings against South Korea come months after the death of Kim Jong-il in December cast the spotlight on his third son Jong-un as his successor is inexperienced and little known to the outside world. Jong-un is believed to be in his late 20s.
Cheong Seong-chang, a senior fellow at the Sejong Institute, said the North Korean military’s threatening of special action against the South is an example signaling the Stalinist state’s leadership is on the wrong track.
Cheong said the North revealed extreme hostility toward South Korea as shown in negative reactions to President Lee Myung-bak’s remarks on the Pyongyang regime.
He suspects the leadership has a problem with its handling of inter-Korean relations.
Through its state-controlled media, Cheong said North Korea on several occasions has poured out a variety of seemingly inappropriate words and descriptions about President Lee and Unification Minster Yu Woo-ik.
Cheong called the Pyongyang’s rationale behind the hostile reactions “nonsensical,” saying its poor handling of inter-Korean affairs could be a reflection of the young leader’s lack of experience in foreign policy.
On Monday, the North Korean military warned of “special action” against South Korea for President Lee and some conservative media outlets had “insulted” the North Korean leader.
It said the new attack will be so swift that it can be carried out within three or four minutes, while refusing to specify what it would be.
North Korea watchers here kept all attack options open, including bio-terrorism and cyber attacks to paralyze the website of the government or the media outlets the North mentioned.
“Before rising to power, Jong-un had some experience in the military, but virtually no experience in foreign policy because his late father had a tight grip on affairs with foreign governments until he died. Jong-un’s emotional and hasty decisions without thinking twice about the possible consequences followed,” Cheong said.
Since Kim Jong-un has led the “Hermit Kingdom” after his father’s death, he has made several unacceptable mistakes according to Cheong.
During the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly held on April 13, Kim Jong-un assumed the role of first chairman of the National Defense Commission, keeping his late father in the position of chairman of the powerful body.
Cheong said this is another blunder the successor has made.
“In North Korea, the title of first chairman usually refers to a position higher than chairman. Having said what he has, Jong-un has assumed a higher position than his late father, which was the unintended result and another big mistake,” the North Korea watcher said.