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EDITORIAL | Enhancing Kim Jong Un’s Dictatorship Cannot Lead to a Brighter Future for North Korea

The only way to relieve the hardships of the North Korean people and develop the country is to abandon dictatorship, release all of the abductees, and give up the regime’s nuclear and missile forces.

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It has been 10 years since the death of Kim Jong Il, general secretary of the North Korean Workers Party, and the ascendancy of his third son, Kim Jong Un. The country is now on its third supreme leader from the Kim family.  

Statues of President Kim Il Sung and leader Kim Jong Il on the 68th founding anniversary of the DPRK. Undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) via Reuters.

Becoming a dictator three years after he was unofficially named his father’s successor, with no time to gain sufficient political experience, Kim Jong Un has executed aides and relatives, and carried out a string of purges, including assassinations abroad. Just like his father and grandfather Kim Il Sung, Jong Un is someone who does not hesitate to engage in a regime of terror. 

North Korea’s military continues to be a threat to peace and stability in Japan and the regions. It has promoted the development of nuclear weapons and missile technology, refusing to listen to the international community’s call for the abandonment of those weapons. 

Kim Jong Un’s regime is also responsible for unilaterally announcing the suspension of investigations under the Stockholm Agreement, which agreed to reopen the probe into the fate of the Japanese abductees. The young supreme leader also continues to adamantly refuse to release the abduction victims. 

Map of confirmed victims abducted by North Korea

The past 10 years have been a cruel and fruitless decade for the international community including Japan, for the abduction victims who remain captives of the Kim regime, and for the people of North Korea who are suffering under inhumane oppression. 

Although he studied abroad in Switzerland and since becoming a dictator in his twenties, Kim Jong Un has not once relented on giving utmost priority to enhancing North Korea’s nuclear and missile forces. 

Four nuclear tests have been carried out by Kim since 2013. He fired off a new intercontinental ballistic missile in 2017, and declared his country’s nuclear force complete. 

A North Korean missile launch in September 2021

Next, he turned his attention to diplomatic offensives. Kim agreed that the Korean Peninsula should be denuclearized when he met up with South Korean President Moon Jae In, and again during a meeting with then-President Donald Trump at the first ever United States-North Korea summit. But his words turned out to be nothing but deception. 

Since the failure of the negotiations with the US, North Korea has repeatedly tested new weapons, such as submarine-launched ballistic missiles and irregular trajectory ballistic missiles. 

As for its economy, the country is in a state of collapse as a result of United Nations sanctions and border lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Kim Jong Un provides guidance on nuclear weapons program [KCNA photo via REUTERS]

The Supreme Leader of North Korea shed tears and apologized for not being able to resolve the hardships inflicted upon the North Korean people, but they were nothing but a facade. 

At the Workers’ Party of Korea Congress in January 2021, Kim was elected general secretary, a title which his late father held. From around this time, the pronoun “chief,” synonymous with his grandfather President Kim Il Sung, has been used to address Jong Un. Yet, enhancing Kim’s dictatorship cannot lead to a brighter future for North Korea.    

Japanese rescue of North Koreans abandoning a sinking North Korean ship in October 2019.

The only way to relieve the hardships of the North Korean people and develop the country is to abandon its dictatorship. Kim Jong Un needs to end his oppressive regime, release all of the abductees, and give up the nuclear and missile forces. 

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(Read the Sankei Shimbun editorial in Japanese at this link.)

Author: Editorial Board, The Sankei Shimbun

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. B0B

    December 26, 2021 at 8:25 am

    This article addresses a very complex issue, in a simplistic way, the tyrannical dictatorship of Kim Jong Un, and ends with a simplistic “solution” of “abandon its dictatorship”. Poof, Kim is gone…and then what?

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