North Korea--What happens when Kim is assassinated?

It’s Caligula Jr. over there. Yet another high ranking figure in North Korea has been executed. At some point, one of these guys is going to shoot first. This could happen anytime, but I predict that Kim will be assassinated within a decade.

There is no Kim in position to be put in place as replacement emperor. So who takes over?

I see only two options: the military seizes power, or the Kim oligarchy seizes power.

In either case, there are two further options: the government continues the Kim style of dictatorship, or it decides, “You know, fuck this, let’s join the rest of the world.”

My view is that the military takes power, and that they promote someone to be the figurehead in a Kim-style dictatorship, and that they continue to oppose any realistic agreements with the remainder of the world.

Free democratic elections shepherding in a new era of peaceful co-existence with their neighbors to the south.

Hey, it could happen.

Well he has a younger sister who could make a useful puppet for whatever junta that takes over.

I think that the analogy which I’d like to use is the one about the person with the gun and the minivan in the ‘War of the Worlds’ remake.
One takes the gun, uses it to get control of the car. Then someone shoots him and gets in the car. Cue a number of gunshots over a 20 minute period until the bullets run out and/or the car is wrecked.

If Kim is assassinated, I predict a number of assassinations in fairly short order (week/weeks) until the one in power is the one selected, controlled, and backed by Red China.
I honestly don’t expect any leader to arise that is even one half step friendlier to the West than the PRC.

I may be wrong and I hope that I am. I look forward to reading other people’s ideas (probably with cites & not just a hunch like me) on this subject.

This book is damn long, but may have some useful information.

IMO, you have to kill the entire Kim bloodline. That basically means anyone born from Kim Il Sung has to die. So it isn’t just Kim, a true takeover requires killing all of Kims aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, etc.

When it comes to North Korea, I don’t think any of us have cites. We’re all just going on hunches.

That said, if the new leader is controlled by China, he will be far friendlier to the West than now. China is fed up with Kim’s attitude to the West.

Do we know the power factions within NK to guess who would likely take charge? They are so insular that we know the least of them than any other state, right?

When Kim is assassinated?

You know somethin’ you ain’t tellin’ us, OP?

When the wall fell the income disparity between East Germany and West Germany was 1 to 3 and East Germans were not kept in the dark about their unfortunate situation. North Korea and the South have a 1 to 14 ratio and some believe it could be closer to 1 to 40 and the majority of North Koreans are completely ignorant about their southern neighbors.

If the Regime falls and North Korea is opened up it won’t be sunny times for them for generations.

It’s basically the Royal Family vs the Military. Anybody that has power or influence is going to be in those two camps. Paranoia has to be so rampant there, all those in power are too distrustful to form alliances, much less make plans for new regimes. Moreover, they might see that removing Un from power makes them vulnerable to invasion or civil war.

Anti-Western sentiment has been pushed down the throats of North Koreans for so long, they would be too distrustful of Western aid. China and South Korea would probably see drawing NK out of its dystopia as a huge burden, but at least the wasp nest would be gone.

The third option is the entire country devolves into a bloody civil war and it takes an outside power, perhaps China, perhaps the US and South Korea with other help, to bring it back under some semblance of control. I actually think that this is more likely than having the military be able to seize control or do a coup or have some cobbled together coalition of the current ruling factions be able to keep it together.

They would definitely try and maintain the ‘Kim style of dictatorship’…I don’t think anyone there can see a path to get to join the rest of the world without it all flying completely apart. Look at how hard the old Soviet satellite countries had it when the USSR folded and they were on their own…and none of them were as bad off as North Korea. The thing is, I’m not sure if they COULD hold together the same old same old either at this point. If Lil Kimmy v2.0 is whacked I don’t think anyone would or could hold it together, especially in light of the factional wars that will be going on. They are barely keeping a lid on things as it is…one more large famine and you are going to have an even larger rush for the Chinese border than the last time and you’d need to bathe the streets in blood to keep folks down. At some point that just won’t work anymore.

Maybe they could keep Uncle Klaudius around, since nobody takes him seriously.

This could be a reasonable solution: let them into China.
The population of NKorea is about 20 million.If 5 million people flee to China- with its population of 1,500 million people–the Chinese economy could absorb them.
The situation would not be comparable to Germany, where absorbing the East was a serious strain for a first-world democracy.
China is not a democracy, and the NKorea refugees would not expect first-world levels of care.

China has (or had?) strict rules controlling who can live where, who works where, and who is allowed to move from rural areas to the new cities. NKoreans are totally used to having the government control their lives. So China could accept Nkoreans, categorizing them not as citizens, but as guest workers , with visas and “green cards”. They would be granted permits to live only in certain specified towns,and work only in certain specified factories, where the wages would be less than paid to Chinese workers,( but food is plentiful.)

The Nkoreans would still be living a vastly nicer life than anything they had ever known. The new luxurious lifestyle would keep them satisifed (and quiet politically) for a decade or more. Over time they would gradually be assimilated into Chinese society

Why would China agree to do this?
Their economy would gain a source of cheap labor , and the Chinese military could take control of NKoreas’s nuclear weapons before the lunatics actually tuse them, and drive the world’s economy into a panic that would hurt everybody, east and west.
Not that I expect this scenario to happen—but it’s fun to write alternative history :slight_smile:

In recent years countries have had an amazing tendency to ease out of their crazy phase quite peacefully. There were the whole Eastern Europe and Soviet Union. Who would have thought the disintegration of the Communist block would have gone so smoothly? And more recently there is Burma. Almost as crazy as North Korea just a few years ago – now they have democratic elections. And Cambodia & Vietnam are also quite peaceful. Both with a very violent history just a few decades ago.

Pre-emptive panic and hiding away your wife a children are of course always good suggestions, but it’s too easy to predict chaos and mayhem in N. Korea. So I’m going to predict a fairly peaceful transition to a more prosperous state over the course of around a decade. Much helped by S. Korean funds and expertise.

In three decades the newest gizmos will be produced in Pyongyang and the local start-up scene will be bustling with energy.

Well, that would still be an improvement.

BTW . . . “Red China”? Seriously?

Well, in the USSR, it might have gone smoothly but it didn’t go well, did it?

Yes, it went pretty well. Especially considering the end-of-the-world scenarios which were widely predicted. A few local wars don’t really stack up against a crazy communist general raining down nuclear missiles over the West. But if you mean that it didn’t go perfectly, and there’s been absolutly no trouble over the last 25 years, then no that didn’t happen.

I’m not really sure that follows. Once you get down to some obscure cousin somewhere, how would he put together a ruling clique? What if there are five obscure cousins, each with a different army faction backing them? Sooner or later, the heritage will be so dilute, it won’t carry any meaningful weight.

(It would be just as easy for some lesser army officer to claim Kim family descent. Who the hell is going to prove he’s lying?)

I’m pretty sure the magical properties of the Kim bloodline would stop making any difference, once the top three or four pretenders get kacked. After that, it’ll be the size of the battalions that matters.

No one has mentioned Kim Jong Nam yet? He’s the brother that was exiled after he tried to sneak into Tokyo Disney land on a forged passport and got caught.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Jong-nam

He now lives in Macau and China keeps him around in case he’s useful in future. Kim Jong Un has banished all the pro china people from his entourage. I’m sure China would love to get some more control over NK again and I’m sure they have agents or sympathsisers among the NK military.

One of the best possible outcomes I can see for North Korea is for China to take them over as a puppet state by assassinating Kim Jong Un and putting Pro China Kim Jong Nam back in control. Then gradually open borders to allow North Koreans to work in neighbouring Chinese provinces while slowly changing the propaganda tune and easing censorship to make them more receptive to the outside world. Sad but true, they’d be vastly better off as a Chinese puppet state than their current condition.

A Disney dictator! :slight_smile: He’ll build Pyongyang Disney, the Happiest Place on Earth, and make everybody visit, and they’ll all smile and laugh and pine for the straightforward brutal tyranny of Kim Jong-un!