Queen's University

North Korea's Kim Jong-il dies

2011-12-23

Queen’s University political studies and national security expert Christian Leuprecht is available to talk about the death of North Korea leader Kim Jong-il and the future of the country.

“It’s turning out to be a tough year for tyrants and dictators,” says Dr. Leuprecht, who teaches in the political studies department and is a fellow in the Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy. “It is interesting that North Korean officials decided to announce Kim Jong-il’s death and his successor. This makes North Korea the world's only hereditary dictatorship. Evidently the North Korean military leadership felt they needed the stability that continuity of family lineage provides. Unlike some of the other regimes which we have seen run into legitimate crises this year, North Korea prevails, notwithstanding the failure of its rent-seeking strategy and the global economic downturn. As Kim Jong-il’s health started to fail, the locus of power shifted towards the military. That shift coincided with an escalation of brinkmanship by the North, likely in an effort to demonstrate to both the world and its people that it is clear who is now calling the shots. The regime appears to be sending signals that the transition to his son will be gradual, meaning that the son's power is likely to be substantially curtailed and the military ultimately in charge. The octogenarian military leadership is unlikely to hand power to someone 50 years their junior.”

To arrange an interview, please contact communication officers Michael Onesi at 613.533.6000 ext. 77513 or michael.onesi@queensu.ca or Anne Craig 613.533.2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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