Korea Kapers: Goodbye Mr. Kim?

November 18, 2008

North Korea has recently announced that it intends to close the land border with South Korea from December 1st this year.

The border closure decision had been taken because “reckless confrontation” from South Korea was “beyond the danger level”, according to the North’s official KCNA news agency.

The agency report added: “The South Korean puppet authorities should never forget that the present inter-Korean relations are at the crucial crossroads of existence and total severance.”

Now, I had been hoping to visit North Korea next year. There are two destinations open to tourists (albeit under rather strict conditions), Kaesong and Mt. Kumgang, and I intended to try for at least one of them. Needless to say, this news is something of a pisser.

As to the reasons behind the North Korean regime taking this decision, ostensibly it’s because the fairly-new conservative South Korean government led by Lee Myung-Bak has been antagonising the North with its tougher approach and recent “hawkish” behaviour i.e. co-sponsoring a UN resolution criticising North Korea’s human rights record.

Kim Jong-Il is dead......probably

Kim Jong-Il is dead......probably

Personally, I have my own (under-researched and entirely speculative) theory as to why this unexpected border closure has occurred.

Kim Jong-Il is dead. He died a few months ago, probably from a massive stroke, and this event is just a move by the military regime to attempt to offset the confusion caused by the sudden departure of ‘The Dear Leader’. Kim hasn’t been seen in public for months now and there have been many rumours surrounding his alleged poor health. The North Korean regime, however, insists that he is still alive and in complete control of the country and they’ve released some highly dubious pictures to prove it. I’m not buying it though. I hereby announce that I am officially behind the “Kim Jong-Il is dead” rumours. Now it’s all just a matter of waiting to see what happens next.

Kim’s two sons are thought to be too young and inexperienced to succeed him. Although Kim Jong-Il came to power following the death of his father, Kim Il-Sung, the younger Kim had been groomed for the leadership of North Korea from a young age. In contrast, Kim Jong-Il’s sons seem to spend most of their time fannying around in the casinos of Macau or embarrassing their father by getting caught attempting to enter Japan on a false passport for the purpose of visiting Disneyland Tokyo. I recall reading an article some time ago that claimed China did not approve of the idea of either of Kim’s sons taking the reins when he died. With that in mind, it looks like the smart money is on a general, or a group of generals, becoming the next leader(s) of North Korea.




  1. Oh yeah. He’s dead.

    Since you won’t be getting into North Korea anytime soon, I offer you this to hold you over:


    It’s quite a treat.

    I also recommend pretty much anything else on that site. Particularly, this one:


  2. And hey! Snazzy header! Though now I’m thinking it needs a border of some sort…

  3. Ha, I’ve actually been on the DMZ tour. It isn’t as mad as that guy suggested.

    I don’t know how long ago that clip was made but you can actually take tours into two parts of North Korea proper. It’s a very strictly controlled tour (no way you could film it) and they show tourists a very false and sanitised version of North Korea where the electricity is always working and there is plenty of food. Some friends of mine took those tours earlier this year.

  4. […] so long ago, I did of course say this […]

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