December 19th, 2011
09:14 AM ET

The gamer, the playboy and the young master: the next generation of Kims

By Tim Lister

For almost a decade, scholars, diplomats and politicians have peered inside the Hermit Kingdom to play the "succession game."  Dozens of U.S. diplomatic cables reveal a heated debate about the Kim dynasty, the rival claims of Kim Jong Il's sons, and whether any of them could consolidate power after their father's death.

Back in 2006, one Chinese expert observed that Kim Jong Il's oldest son, Kim Jong-nam, was "too much of a playboy" to be seriously considered, son #2 Kim Jong-chol was "more interested in video games" than governing, and Kim Jong-un (then just 23) was simply too young.

Anxious about his own authority, Kim Jong Il took only tentative steps to organize a succession. Kim Jong-un gradually emerged as the favored son, but the cables show many analysts expect a collective leadership heavily reliant on the military to emerge after Kim Jong Il's death - with Kim Jong-un only a figurehead.

A CNN analysis of more than 50 U.S. diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks shows a highly secretive and unpredictable succession process playing out. A Chinese scholar with high-level contacts in Beijing and Pyongyang acknowledged in 2009 that "no-one except Kim (Jong-il) himself knows who would succeed him."

The cables suggest that Kim Jong-un was always closer to his father than were his older brothers. One from 2009 cites the memoirs of Kim Jong Il's former Japanese chef, Kenji Fujimoto, who said Kim Jong Il "adored Kim Jong-un for resembling himself, both in image and in personality." Another analyst described Kim Jong-un as "a bold and big-hearted person."

By contrast the North Korean leader thought Kim Jong-chol, was "too effeminate" to be a strong leader, noted one analyst, who also speculated that Kim Jong-chol "might have problems with the levels of estrogen in his system, as recent reports indicated that he exhibited female secondary sex characteristics."

Little is known about Kim Jong-un's upbringing. One Chinese scholar said he had studied in Switzerland and returned to North Korea to attend either Kim Il Sung University or Kim Chaek University of Technology.  These two highly regarded schools in North Korea are where "royal family" members typically study to attain "a traditional North Korean education," the analyst said.

Kim Jong-un emerged as the front-runner to succeed his father in 2009 when he began working as acting chairman of the National Defense Commission "to support his ailing father Kim Jong-il," according to a cable from June that year.  South Korean observers noted at the time that "'Young master' is a nickname that the Great General has begun using for his third son."

Pyongyang notified foreign missions of the unofficial nomination of Kim Jong-un as the heir apparent, and urged its people to call him "Captain Kim" and sing songs praising him.

But being "Captain Kim" is no guarantee of respect. Kim Jong Il had nearly twenty years to build a power base in the shadow of his father (and North Korea's founder) Kim Il Sung.  By contrast, Kim Jong-un has had barely two years to garner any authority.  "The issue North Korea now faces is how to create a smooth power transition for such an inexperienced individual," said one Korea-watcher last year.

Liu Ming, from the Institute of Asia and Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, was quoted in one cable as saying that it would take "many years for any of KJI's sons to build a political base."

And a former national security Adviser in South Korea predicted the ruling elite would adopt the "Japan model" - with an imperial family acting as head of state, while real political power lay elsewhere, perhaps among a group of high-level military officers.

Along similiar lines, Professor Han Park of the University of Georgia - a frequent visitor to Pyongyang – is quoted in a 2009 cable as saying Kim Jong-un's position "would be largely symbolic and he would be controlled by others in Pyongyang; the DPRK would move towards a more collective leadership."

Among figures identified as influential in the transition:

*Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law Chang Song-taek, who would probably act as a "regent" to Kim Jong-il's third son Kim Jong-un;
*Key members of the National Defense Committee, including Joo koo-chan, Oh Kuk-ryul and Kim Young-choon;
*Kim Ok, Kim Jong Il's widow, described as "extremely powerful."

According to a cable from February 2010, five South Korean experts agreed that Chang Song-taek would "prove a strong rival for the younger Kim and would probably be tempted to challenge him."

But Cui Zhiying, director of the Office for Korean Peninsula Studies at Tongji University in China, predicted the transition would be "stable" and "without chaos."

Few analysts expected bold reform. Yoo Ho-yeol of Korea University told U.S. diplomats in 2009 that "no change could be expected under Kim Jong-un, despite his overseas experience and western education." Yoo predicted Kim Jong-un would continue the "backward ways of his father's time." In North Korea, regime stability trumped everything, including a more prosperous people.

That's partly because the shadow of Kim Jong-un's grandfather still looms large over North Korea's elite. The true leader in North Korea, said Professor Park, remained Kim Il Sung, because the country was still following his policies, thoughts and writings.

Ominously, the Chinese scholar Liu Ming suggested two years ago that whoever succeeded Kim Jong Il would have to "prove his ability to boost the country's prestige in order to control the military and its generals."

"One way to achieve this is for KJU to preside over more nuclear and missile tests," he said.

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Filed under: Diplomacy • North Korea • State Department • WikiLeaks
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Marica

    From Adam Weigold, the CEO of Lightning Gun Technologies in Australia, soon to be producing a driected EMP weapon to be mounted on airliners as protection against missiles:"Aircraft are usually fitted with lightning protection but the ability of this technology to protect all the electronic systems against the more "rapid and intense" threat of EMP in a plane is minimal. It is actually possible to offer an improvement in EMP protection by one or two orders of magnitude ie: 90-99%)....but this requires every circuit in the plane to be modified and adds huge cost and weight. Rumors suggest Air Force One has recently had a $20million EMP protection upgrade but how effective this would be is speculation. This is an expensive solution and probably only worth implementing on the Presidents plane. Furthermore it would be near impossible to implement into small lightweight devices such as guided missiles or UAV's which are 100% reliant on delicate IC's in their guidance and sensor systems. The biggest threat are the MANPADS which are small, lightweight and only cost $10,000 to $40,000 each. That price would sky rocket with any form of EMP protection and they wouldn't be lightweight any more. And the degree of protection they would get is highly debatable". "It is important to note all electronic and electrical devices can be damaged by EMP. Motors require thousands of Joules of EMP energy to be damaged so are pretty safe. Valve transistors require about 1-10J, Diodes, Transistors and Resistors anywhere between 1mJ and 100mJ and integrated circuits only 0.01mJ to 1mJ of EMP energy. I should point out that in all our calculations for our large scale experiments we plan on delivering in excess of 1J to the target which would fry most electronic circuits. Even if you could provide 99% shielding protection all the silicon chips would still be destroyed with a 1J EMP pulse".

    May 3, 2014 at 10:20 am | Reply
  2. Klassiska tändare

    hi!,I love your writing so so much! proportion we keep up a correspondence more approximately your post on AOL? I need an expert on this house to resolve my problem. May be that is you! Taking a look forward to peer you.

    April 24, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Reply
  3. Cogito Ergo Sum

    Incredible to have a "communist" country ruled by a dynasty! Seems kind of antithetical to me.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Reply
    • Alex

      Right....And just take a look at the countries whose name contains "People's Democratic Republic..." The only place you find anything democratic is in the empty title; the People have no rights, certainly not to an opinion; Republic assumes elections: inexistant or totally rigged. So.....what's in a name?

      December 20, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Reply
  4. Scott America

    Great News!! Problem is how do you change a culture of propaganda. the nk people are like zombies. amazing how one person can hypnotize millions of people and watch people starve to death. now is the time to send in the troops. nuke them before they nuke us. we need a new arsenal anyway. our stuff is outdated.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Reply
    • WorldPeace

      Yes how do you change a culture of propaganda? It is amazing how leader after leader can hypnotize millions of people and watch them starve to death and become impoverished while the fat cats sit pretty in their ivory towers all the while stripping away their liberties and freedoms. I am not talking about Korea here...

      December 19, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Reply
  5. Dictators Suck

    I wonder if tubby is as psychotic as the looney shrimp.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Reply
  6. vinceParree

    It is strange how tiny they are due to generations of starvation and lack of nutrition. I am only 5'9" and I would be like a giant there. I could play center on a North Korean basketball team and be a towering figure. And their hats are always much bigger than their heads...weird.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Reply
    • Dictators Suck

      Those aren't hats. They're rice pots that double as hats outdoors. When you're constrained on resources you have to improvise.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:19 pm | Reply
      • edwin

        dall'ultima volta che l'ho visto, migliorato omtloa mio avviso graficamente si potrebbe fare ancora qualcosina di pi ad ogni modo, anke cos direi ke siamo ad un buon livello

        April 6, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Bob Loblaw

      Mikhail Prokhorov can probably get you in

      December 19, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  7. julezzz

    I sincerely hope the best for North Korea. 🙂

    December 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  8. Alfredo

    Celebrate KIm Jong II death. Dump his tiny corpse in the garbage. N Korea- wake up and join your S Korean brothers in the 21st century...

    December 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • julezzz

      lololololol

      December 19, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Reply
    • julezzz

      I apologize I meant no disrespect by laughing.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Reply
    • captain planet

      Alfredo, your an idiot.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Reply
    • WorldPeace

      Alfredo you are so disrespectful and ignorant! We are all human beings on this planet and we all deserve respect. Take a look around you. Unemployment, starvation, homelessness, inflation. Your dollar will soon be worthless. You have had Tyants in power for years stripping away your liberties and freedoms. They have killed thousands of people (including your own) needlessly at WAR. The only difference is they are doing it in disguise right under your nose! WAKE UP PEOPLE!

      December 19, 2011 at 10:30 pm | Reply
  9. Bill

    Must have democlatic erections to choose new dear reader!

    December 19, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Reply
    • Bob Loblaw

      He who has the most giant rabbits wins.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Reply
    • guruofgame

      do they eat dogs?

      December 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Reply
      • Angela Birch

        I doubt it, I don't think after 8-9 famines that thy have any dogs left or cats. I suspect this new guy won't be an improvement on his dad and grandpa.

        December 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
      • Bob Loblaw

        they eat babies

        December 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • timthesocialist

      Do you think you're witty by repeating old worn out racist jokes? You're not. You're just sad.

      December 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm | Reply
      • Ratatouille Cane

        I had a computer class taught by a man whose family was from Vietnam. He sometimes talked about the Vietnamese diet. He said that Asians will eat anything- rat, cat, dog- because the family has to eat and food is not that easy to get. He said that they don't have large fish to eat in the rivers because no one there has the patience to wait for the baby fish to grow up. There is no depart. of fish and game in Vietnam. I suspect the same is true in North Korea, but only worse. I remember he said, "If you see an Asian feeding a dog it is not because it is a pet. It is like a cow or chicken."

        December 25, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • Maria

      WE LOVE THEM! Steph, you are too kind with your words. Thank you so much for capturing our sweet beibas in their true form. You are THE BEST and we are so thankful. My words are not enough to say how much we appreciate you taking the time to photograph our family.

      April 4, 2012 at 8:36 am | Reply
  10. FedUpwithLA

    They all look so cute on your home page cover picture. Does anyone dare get out of line?

    December 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Reply
    • roger

      are all 196 his ? Jeez no wonder the military has been so loyal – wonder if he took vitamins

      December 19, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Reply
    • captain planet

      Asians rock! Most humble, down to earth, level headed, brilliant people on the planet. Centuries ahead of the rest. Always have been, save when they choose not to be. Don't be ignant america, come on! Most technologically advance country on the planet,......South Korea folks. Put down the ipod, turn off jersey shore, and open your eyes....

      December 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Reply
      • Lili

        Amir jan alan do mah az nameh update man zgamireh va khodet ham keh miduni man az seri 2008 fast track hastam keh file number dovom ra beh goleh dostan march 2009 gereftam.dirooz dobareh yeh email zadam keh baba pas chi shod update ham keh gereftid ?beh nazaro to az update to medical cheh ghar tool mikesheh?kam kam digeh daram asabani misham.movafagh bashi

        April 6, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  11. Grandpa RD

    I know how to save North Korea's monetary problems! Just have youngest son promote 7-Up! Bottle it in Pyongyang and call it the "Un-Cola" once again. Problem solved!

    December 19, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Reply
  12. julezzz

    To Kim Jung Il: The Price Was Wrong, B!tch!!!!

    December 19, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Reply
    • Pete Patterson

      Hey CNN, wake up! Way to go with not policing all the tacky racist comments about Asians on here. KJI and his son are nuts, but it doesn't paint an entire race and two countries. Hello!

      December 19, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Reply
  13. vinceParree

    How many North Koreans can you fit into your pocket?

    December 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Reply
    • Bill

      JEans or cargo pants?

      December 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Reply
      • Lacrisha

        These pictures takes my barteh away too ! The sunlight is divine, as your models ; they are so pretty, and Kim's daughter is such a lovely little princess! ^.^ Wonderful shots !!

        April 5, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  14. roshinobi

    Who's sending all these "cables?" I wasn't aware anyone still used telegraphs.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Reply
  15. mytchy

    Its just too bad that all these north korean mooks don't have any brains under those oversized giant hats. Its very simple-never trust Asians to do the right thing. They will always try to screw you one way or the other.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Reply
    • BarackFlacka

      The world appreciates your racist ignorance mytchy. Think about what an ignorant goon you look like by not only deeming a nation by a whole race of people. Every person is different, so before you go about shouting your ignorance to the high seas – think about what words you choose to use.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Reply
    • Nodack

      That was a dumb comment and racist too.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Reply
    • Sftcw66

      Mytchy, You are such a sick racist. You are as bad as the worst of the N. Koreans.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:46 pm | Reply
    • roger

      big hats no cattle

      December 19, 2011 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • guruofgame

      I found those racists are funny in one common mistake, they don't know every race has bad thugs, rapists. Try this, find any country in the world, you can post your daughter's naked pictures to their webside, see how many lusty pigs hit on it. The fact will teach you that, judging by races is a retard way to use your brain.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Reply
  16. Alfredo

    Message to N Koreans- (I know you don't have internet) Wake up, your midget "fearless leader' that kept you ignorant and starving was a piece of garbage. Yes a piece of garbage tyrant. Think for yourselves and join you r S. Korean brothers in the 21st century...

    December 19, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Reply
    • KarenLaRae

      It is easy to have a "holier than thou" attitude, but the entire country has NEVER been exposed to outside influences. They went straight from World War II, to the first Kim setting up power, to the Korean conflict which began total isolation from the rest of the world. The people have been taught their leaders are almost dieties and that Korea is the envy of the world. How are the people supposed to know any diffrent when they have not be alloed to SEE or HEAR anything different? I like to think I'm independent-minded, but if I had been taught from the cradle that the goverment reality is the ONLY reality, and I had no opportunity to see or hear anything differently, my independent mind woudl probably not be quite so independent.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Reply
  17. julezzz

    I may have missed it. And exuse me if I have but....I want to hear from the North Korean people.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Reply
    • justmeanddog

      You and everyone else on this Planet, but which one would you like to choose to commit suicide by satisfying your curiosity.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Reply
    • julezzz

      Oh, so, no one really wants to hear them. okay. I got it. How messed up is that. Statement. Not a question.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Reply
      • julezzz

        It is so easy to say what you feel when you are not in the middle of it. Imagine their lives. Imagine protecting your children against a regime who really doesn't give a sh(t. God Bless the USA.

        December 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
      • Grants

        No. What he is saying that if a North Korean told you how they actually felt, it would be the same as committing suicide because any thing that is seen as going slightly out of line with the regime is met with swiftly and harshly.

        December 19, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  18. Tim

    Somewhat old but Patriotic American Saying: "The only good commie is a dead commie".

    December 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm | Reply
    • Angela Birch

      Non of the Kims are communists. What they are: traditional military dictators. Closer to the Fuedal systems of the 13th century Europe or 15th century Russia. Think (Ivan the terrible). A communissystem is almost certainly not possible because the human animal is not a communal animal. Probably the closest to a communism that has ever existed were the religious communes here in the US in te 1800s. The system in North Korea, is basically an old fashioned military dictatorship.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:45 pm | Reply
  19. Roy

    Has anyone ever seen Kim Jung Un and Eric Cartman in the same room together at the same time? If The Great Successor's succession speech includes the code phrase " you will respect my authoritah", this will prove what I suspect.. Additionally the English translation of the Korean word Baekdu is Park in South..

    December 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm | Reply
    • julezzz

      Roy! LOL!!!!! Right on.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Reply
  20. F. Daniel Gray

    Sometimes the news can be more amusing than I can stand. Well, contradictory is a better word. 99% of the reports about the DPRK begin setting the tone with dire reports about its future. For over 50 years! Next, is the descriptor about its isolation and how secretive it is. That's followed by, the majority of the post here are illustrative, giving exact details about the number, of starving people; enslaved people, dying people, downtrodden people, etc. How it is a dictatorship,yet that a "collective leadership' will be running the government behind a "puppet leader." If CNN and the mainstream media, had regularly reported on the country, BEFORE THIS WEEKEND, consulting various scholars, and a variety of opinions, rather than the propagandistic releases from Washington.

    Is the DPRK important? It must be, seeing that we have stationed 25, 000 military at its border for over 50 years. Costing? To do what? if it's so isolated, what do the people at the 20 embassies (not the US of course) do all day long.Do they never take a walk or ride their subway?

    Tell you what, people in the East have a different way of looking at the world. And it is naive or intentionally stupid to think they are misled or downtrodden or oppressed just because they don't seem to crave a Denny's on every corner in their cities, or want to hear about Lindsay Lohan, etc.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:09 pm | Reply
    • mullah dadullah

      from time to time,an american WITH a brain,writes a comment.amen,brother.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:13 pm | Reply
  21. frustratedfrustrated

    the korean peninsula situation is much more complicated than we know it to be. much of the western world knows little iabout the history and the reasons to why it is a divided country. hundreds of thousands of innocent people were killed, sometimes burned alive, by americans and allies during the war. the peninsula was a victim of foreign bullies playing war games on their soil. people were forced to pick a side if they wanted to live, the lesser of two evils. up until then korea was a very innocent and naive nation who was just trying to recover from being occupied by the ruthless japanese for several decades. if you examine the past 5-6 decades, NK really hasn't done much. Try comparing it to what the US and allies have done around the world in terms of body count. it's all about perspective. why does the western world hate them so much? hmm. yes, they make a lot of threats and take shots here and there and are unpredictable. however, the decades have shown only that their government is their own worst enemy. politics is politics. all governments lie to their people. the only difference between them and us is that the NK government is more in your face, you don't listen you die. i get more upset whenever i see pictures of kim and his sons and their fat faces and bellies while their people starve to death. NK isn't communist, it's a dictatorship by a overfed tyrant. and i don't see anything better in the future man-child leader. come on 28? what were you thinking and doing at 28? him and his fat cronies are going to tightened that belt even further and the only ones who will suffer are their people who live with nothing more than fear and hunger pains. there are content and satisfied people in NK too, lots. but these are the ones that have built a life of kissing kim's ass. the majority that are starving also kiss but are less convincing. let's focus on the people.

    December 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Reply
    • justmeanddog

      You do realize that you have almost built a near perfect case for a UN Invasion of NK nbased on purely humanitarian grounds.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Reply
    • evenmorefustrated

      I Don’t know what the hell you’re talking about...The NK government starves its own people chasing nuclear dreams. At least the west contributes to the starvation and famine that plagues the world. Has the NK given anything to aids research? How about the advancement in cancer research? Have they stopped genocide? Your point is not valid! Yes the western nations have their faults, there is no arguing that. However, I would argue had it not been for the west the world would be in a lot worst shape than it is now! Take a look at the world! Stop listening to the idiots who try to present the west and the U.S. in a negative light.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Reply
  22. Kael

    watch how sick and brain washed NK people are. It is gonna take a really long time to defuse them into normal citizens.
    http://www.vice.com/the-vice-guide-to-travel/vice-guide-to-north-korea-1-of-3

    December 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Reply
  23. justmeanddog

    If Truman had listened to MacArthur the world would not have this problem at the moment. Yeah I know this sounds like War mongering but does anybody think that the world has not been continuously at War for over 70 years. Sometimes Hot and sometimes cold but War none the less. How many innocent people have died because of decisions not taken? Everything has a price even Peace. Diplomats are in love with diplomacy and hence the truth is one of the best-kept secrets between world leaders.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:58 pm | Reply
    • K Kammeyer

      MacArthur was right – "There is no substitute for victory".

      December 19, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Reply
  24. tallabigale

    Hey guys, im a real honest tall sexy girl in search of a soul mate. if you wanna see more pics of me, just find me on t a l l c o n n e c t .C Q ㎡My names Maggiebabe4789. Be waiting for ya there...

    December 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Reply
    • lololol

      ur name is all over the fuckin internet.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Reply
    • guruofgame

      u can be the soul mate for newly dead NK King, which makes you Soul Mate Queen of NK and you will be buried together with the fat dictator.

      December 19, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Reply
  25. retief1954

    From the campaign office of Michelle Bachmann came this statement today on the death of Kim Jong Il:
    "Can you believe, that President Obaaamaaa actually stood by and did nothing while this dictator died, putting our world even further into danger? And now, Kim Jong Il's son, Kim Jong Un, will succeed him, and nobody knows anything at all about him. This means the danger factor all over the world has now risen by about 625%, all thanks to President Obaaamaaa. I'm a serious candidate, and we need to make sure that President Obaaamaaa is a one-term president. I have a spine of titanium, and it's uncaaaaanscionable that President Obaaamaaa has once again failed, and let down the American people."
    Congresswoman Bachmann later amended her statement, adding, "I just want everyone to know, that I have a spine of titanium, I can fix the ecaaaanomy in one week, and I would never, ever have allowed this evil dictator's illness to result in his death. Look at how much danger we're all in now!"
    Contacted for a response, each of the other Republican candidates for president said, "Yeah." Except for Ron Paul, whose statement began roughly 30 minutes ago, is still going on, and has wandered far off the topic of the question.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • mullah dadullah

      michelle is not fit to be a bagger in wal-mart,let alone president.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Reply
  26. barry o-bummer

    BTW, Madeleine Half-bright, the former sec. of hate...was quoted saying, Kim jung ill watches CNN. Case closed.
    Why would a brutal asian dictator, who has BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF MILLIONS OF HIS OWN PEOPLE, NOW YOU SEE THIS INSANE HERO WORSHIP...What's happening in America now, under Obummer is the beginning of tyranny.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Reply
    • timthesocialist

      You're an idiot.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Reply
      • WoI Admin

        As a fellow socialist – it is such a drag when ignorant righties whine about "socialist" Obama, the crony capitalist in Wall Street's pocket. Lol

        December 19, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • Choad

      Isn't it time to breed with your daughter?

      December 19, 2011 at 9:22 pm | Reply
    • mullah dadullah

      america looks like soviet union 1980.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Reply
    • srichey

      An Aluminum Foil Deflector Beanie (AFDB) is a type of headwear that can shield your brain from most electromagnetic psychotronic mind control carriers. AFDBs are inexpensive (even free if you don't mind scrounging for thrown-out aluminium foil) and can be constructed by anyone with at least the dexterity of a chimp (maybe bonobo). This cheap and unobtrusive form of mind control protection offers real security to the masses. Not only do they protect against incoming signals, but they also block most forms of brain scanning and mind reading, keeping the secrets in your head truly secret. AFDBs are safe and operate automatically. All you do is make it and wear it and you're good to go! Plus, AFDBs are stylish and comfortable.

      What are you waiting for? Make one today!

      December 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Reply
    • Zinh

      Hi Kamal,are you sure? I send the list to myself as well to lobude check, and I received the correct list. Can you lobude check? If it was the wrong email then I'll look into it for you.T

      April 7, 2012 at 12:15 am | Reply
  27. lololol

    Kim is such a girl's name

    December 19, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Reply
  28. MadMax

    A great leader has died. The world will be worse off without him. Obama should take a not from this guy and deal with the radical republicans the way this guy would.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Reply
  29. Alfredo

    Can N Koreans eat a nuclear bomb? Apparently Kim Jong II thought so. His death should be celebrated. Dump his tiny corpse in the garbage. It's time for No Korean's to think for themselves and join the 21st century...

    December 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Reply
    • barry o-bummer

      Alfredo, God bless your heart...you and i can see that this little dead twirp, was a maniacal animal, who lived like a king, while his people were starving in A POLICE STATE...where if you tried to leave, you would be shot or sent to a prison camp. WHAT'S WRONG WITH LIBERALS??? CAN'T SEE WHAT'S HAPPENING?

      December 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm | Reply
    • julezzz

      I couldn't have said it better, my friend. I'll buy you a beer any day of the week.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Reply
  30. Not Anderson Cooper

    Bobby Lee (from Madtv) for North Korea's president !

    December 19, 2011 at 8:49 pm | Reply
  31. pstatz1121

    I love the Korean people, North and South. I have been to the Joint Service Area from the South. Even stepped into North Korea (by some 20 feet). I have learned that even that North Korea is very autocratic, has 2 Million soldiers ready to pounce, they would be more than willing to except a role in the international community. I think a softer hand and bigger outreach to North Korea would be my suggestion. If they start shooting at us, then is your Western fail. They look impressive but their army can only win when the US politicians create another politician run war with the North Korean people. North Korean saying from the Great Leader, "Peace comes only from the end of a bayonette".

    December 19, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Reply
    • sda22

      You think stepping over that line in the conference room at the DMZ brought you somehow closer to or that you know something about the North Korean people? What a joke. Nice try.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm | Reply
    • barry o-bummer

      WHY DON'T YOU GO TO NORTH KOREA AND SEE IF YOU CAN SEND OUT EMAILS OUTSIDE OF THAT POLICE STATE...
      SEE IF YOU CAN START A BUSINESS, SEE IF YOU CAN CRITICIZE LEADERS LIKE THEY DO HERE.
      SEE IF YOU CAN MOUTH OFF TO A COP...
      CNN: GO TO HELL!

      December 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  32. Tony

    The magnitude of brainwashing that the North Korean people are subjected to is quite sickening given the news footage of people crying over the death of their dictator. One might ask, "how could anyone grieve over the loss of an evil man"? Well, when you are forced to resign yourself to a fabricated myth and place an evil man upon a pedestool, you become blind to the evil and deaf to the reality of the matter.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Reply
    • jasonbig

      brainwashing is everywhere man, just on different levels. yeah the brainwashing in north korea is sickening, the brainwashing in china is sickening, the brainwashing in the usa is less sickening, yeah but still sickening. lol

      December 19, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Reply
    • theinformer

      what If same is true for you? What if you are brainwashed by your propagandist mainstream media and capitalist politicians? Did you ever reckon that? Do not be a enslaved product of fucked up western media. Trust me, you are better than that.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Reply
    • barry o-bummer

      GOOD FOR YOU TONY, YOU SEE THIS CLEARLY...North Korea is and was a POLICE STATE UNDER FORMER MANIAC, WHO THANK GOD, DROPPED DEAD, BECAUSE HE DINED ON CRAPPY FOOD FOR YEARS...DRANK LIKE A FISH...WHILE HIS PEOPLE STARVED TO DEATH IN THIS SOVIET STYLED HELL HOLE THEY CALL NORTH KOREA.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  33. barry o-bummer

    listen to this hero worship, of a bloody tyrant: the gamer, the playboy...what the **ck??? What is that about...
    HE KILLED AND STARVED HIS OWN PEOPLE, THIS GUY WAS THE ASIAN STALIN, THE ASIAN HITLER...OF HIS TIME,
    TELL LIKE IT IS COMMUNIST NEWS NETWORK.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:25 pm | Reply
    • sda22

      Read the article you Moron!

      December 19, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Reply
  34. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Does EVERYONE in North Korea have a uniform?

    December 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Reply
    • Choad

      I know – it's almost like America.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:27 pm | Reply
      • TTTO

        Yeah, same uniform worn in OCW.

        December 19, 2011 at 8:52 pm |
  35. Brandon

    Time to invade north Korea and proudly march to the Yalu!

    December 19, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Reply
    • Scott from NH

      A war with millions of dead people might not seem like a good idea if you lived there.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:20 pm | Reply
    • Choad

      After you.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Reply
    • your dog (dakota)

      well is that really a good idea.... they got nuke...Scenario: U.S has a aircraft carrier with president. nk has a nuke who would win? your answer should be a nuke

      December 19, 2011 at 9:01 pm | Reply
      • your dog (dakota)

        oh im am not with them its just facts

        December 19, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • August

      Hey Brandon, I think we should stop invading countries. The Iraq thing didn't go that well. And we certainly don't want war with China. Maybe we just wait for their military to make the first move. They are good like that.

      December 19, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Reply
  36. outawork

    Kim Jong-loser

    December 19, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Reply
  37. Tony

    One communist dictator neutralized, and two more to go! Next up, the bearded goon who has kept his country in perpetual bondage since 1959... Fidel Castro. Next, you have a Soviet era thug whose nostalgia for the hammer and sickle just won't fade, a man who just can't seem to except that the Iron curtain fell down nearly 20 years ago, and finally, collectively known as Europe's last dictator; Alexsander Lukashenko. Please, for the love of all things holy, may the forces of good remove the presence of these despicable maniacs from the face of this earth!

    December 19, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Reply
    • Choad

      Viva Fidel.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:28 pm | Reply
    • Andy Daniel

      You're aware Fidel Castro pretty much retired 3 years ago, right?

      December 20, 2011 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  38. Dot8

    N. Korea will always have a dictator, it is in their blood.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:11 pm | Reply
    • Ben

      That is until that blood is spilled by the warmongers.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:46 pm | Reply
  39. Steve

    Closed society. Look at the result: In-breeding.

    December 19, 2011 at 8:06 pm | Reply
    • Choad

      Oh, I'm sure we can out-inbreed them. Hell, I'm sure we can out-inbreed anyone.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:30 pm | Reply
      • TTTO

        Yup, you're way ahead of us..... perfect example of in-breeding.

        December 19, 2011 at 8:56 pm |
  40. Mrs. M

    Is anyone else thinking "assasination?"

    December 19, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Reply
    • guruofgame

      No. Only you. Really why we have to bother to think about the North Korean matters? they have no oil, no other nature resources? they don't owe us anything either. But, if you can't get over due to the cold war reason, now you shall forgive them. Cause you are sure, that you ruther to choose the right side of history with us, instead of with NK. Revengence can't make us strong, but makes them strong. Leave them along is the best strategy.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Reply
      • James

        actually a million people died in that country of starvation this year. i do care. you're a scumbag for not getting it.

        December 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
      • randy

        we don't care if they all starve themselves to death, we do care if they develop nukes and sell them to anybody with thr money.

        December 19, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
      • Alex

        Actually N Korea has a very large sum of coal. But they trade it to China for rice.

        December 19, 2011 at 9:19 pm |
      • guruofgame

        If you have such cold war mentality, then, we will never balance our budget, never mind go for it. you can volunteer to rescue the starving NK people, but don't waste the American tax money into a black hole.

        December 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
    • barry o-bummer

      what??? people who read cnn belong in mental hospitals.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:23 pm | Reply
    • Ivan

      Absolutley 2011 bad year for bad people. Maybe it will carry over to 2012?

      December 19, 2011 at 8:35 pm | Reply
      • mullah dadullah

        not complete without chaney.

        December 19, 2011 at 9:42 pm |
  41. Anonymous

    Kim Jong Il is dead. Thanks, Occupy Wall Street!

    December 19, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Reply
    • Ron

      I'd thank little blue Smurfs before OWS....at least Smurfs seem to have some purpose.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  42. the_dude

    If you put the gamer in charge how long before he is hacking and using lag switches and boosting lobbies??? I friggin hate hackers....

    December 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm | Reply
    • guruofgame

      what kind of gamer he is? really doesn't matter. what matter is whether they can afford to buy made-in-USA goods? Who cares he is a gamer or not! Heard his dad was addicted to Russian Caviar and NBA games, then, what is addicted to?

      December 19, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Reply
      • Morde

        Morde es #1 en Brasil!

        December 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm |
  43. Joshua

    Great novel that takes place in Korea and touches on the root of the conflict , Along the Naktong by Joshua Lorenzo Newett . One of the ten best books I've ever read!

    December 19, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  44. Dan Thomas

    Hey CNN given the unrest amidst the violence seen in recent months in Egypt, Syria and other parts of the world what do you think the propsects are of No. Korean's continuing to accept their current lifestyle? I understand they currently don't really 'know any better (life)' but then again some speak English and others have access to social communications mediums that can and do help them to understand that a better life is possible outside the confines within which they reside. So, will CNN do a piece on what causes (23 million) people to 'accept' and/or stay the course?

    December 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • Arms

      How could a population revolt or even look for reform when they're already busy wondering how they'll make it to their next meal. The people of North Korea are a starved and deprived people. Also, North Korea has a pretty good handle on the public, with anyone who so much as thinks about disobedience gets locked up. There are just too many problems within the North Korean society itself that would need to be worked out before anyone would have the courage – or energy – to revolt.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Reply
      • Fred

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        April 7, 2012 at 2:36 am |
    • Mike

      Social media basically don't exist in North Korea. Hard as that may be for Americans to believe, when you starving and without electrical power most hours of the day, Twitter isn't that big a deal. The North Korean world view, even among the well-educated English speakers, makes the Republicans look very left wing.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  45. Johnna

    Basically, the only good commy is a DEAD commy !

    December 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  46. Mike C

    I would bet many Republicans would vote for Reagan if his name were on the ballot. I think I heard his name about 50 times during one of the debates. Plus many of the candidates rank Reagan and Jesus in their "most influential person in my life"

    December 19, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Reply
    • Mike C

      Ooops, this was in reply to SFC Mike down below.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:38 pm | Reply
  47. Brad

    hmmm Sounds like the USSA under Obama/Romney/Gingrich etc Corporatism at its finest.

    December 19, 2011 at 12:29 pm | Reply
  48. Obama

    Perfect opportunity to free it's people. Wonder what the cost would be to de-program these people from their dear leader?

    December 19, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Reply
    • Chaos

      "Perfect opportunity to free it's people."

      The son has not built up a power base of his own. Any attempt to do that, he's gone. So its the opposite of what you said.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Reply
      • Anonymous

        "Perfect opportunity to free it's people."

        The son has not built up a power base of his own. Any attempt to do that, he's gone. So its the opposite of what you said.

        It looks like the successor is more favorable to Western ideals. It would be a good thing to try to mend relations with a country that is about to be led by someone who likes "Disneyland" and a Jordan fan to boot! lol

        The problem now is the military. They might not like the successor to take over – may the successor goes a different direction, or keep things the same. With the father dead, despite the announcement that the 3rd son will succeed him, there's this uncertainty that a power struggle between the "chosen" and the military might happen. If the successor wins, then there might be a chance. If the military wins, then there is very little chance – apart from sanctions, covert operations, and possibly military intervention.

        Apart from those considerations, there's China. I think China would not be pleased if their "buffer" state had a change of heart and would want to be neutral, even competing against them – at least economically. Many angles to consider to pave the way for the development of NK. It would be nice to see Korea whole again.

        December 20, 2011 at 12:33 am |
  49. n

    I really hope that the gamer doesn't get the military command. You know things will end up bad for the US, if one Asian with experience in Starcraft gets military units :S

    December 19, 2011 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  50. Boxlunch

    Dammit another article about the Kardashians!!!! Oh NOT that Kim....Nevermind

    December 19, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
  51. cubswin!!!

    Imagine living in a country where the leader lives in opulence while over 50% of his citizens live hungry, where billions are stolen from the treasury and given to political friends, where the internet and mail is monitored, where government contracts are given out to party favorites, where the leaders family junket to expensive destinations on the taxpayers dime .................oh we talking about Kim or Obama?

    December 19, 2011 at 11:48 am | Reply
    • YYY

      Really? You're comparing N. Korea to the US.... thats comically inaccurate.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:04 pm | Reply
      • julezzz

        Agreed.

        December 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm |
    • Bob

      What a dope you are.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Reply
    • Obama

      Wow, I sure hope you parents got fixed.......

      December 19, 2011 at 12:21 pm | Reply
      • PaulTinEG

        Do you realize how idiotic your statement about the parents being fixed is?

        December 19, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
    • Incrediboy

      Another sorry Cubs fan....bah....hum-bug.

      December 19, 2011 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • Ken

      Idiocy at it's best, you must be Republican. Take a look at the gong show the Republicans are creating trying to find a party leader. Never mind, you might be a fore runner if you were in the Show.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Reply
      • Educated

        This has nothing to do with parties... This guys just an idiot!

        December 19, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
    • max

      amazing. you are a cross between an Occupier and an idiot.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Reply
  52. Sandeep Mora

    I know the article is about North Korea but I have a question for CNN. I remember CNN categorically denying to report any news that are in Wikileak cables, when the cables were first released. CNN also wrote a very nice article blaming other media who intend to publish or use the cables and citing some ethical reasons. Why this sudden change son 😉

    December 19, 2011 at 11:23 am | Reply
    • LP

      What, you're shocked that CNN has no integrity? This is a news outlet that is rehiring Christine A., after all. Their integrity is a complete joke.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:54 pm | Reply
  53. WoI Admin

    Kim Jong Il – a life long Libertarian.

    He had the kind of freedom Ron Paul wants to give our business elite here in America – total freedom to be a tyrant.

    December 19, 2011 at 11:18 am | Reply
    • Rich

      BS.... what a stupid comment.

      December 19, 2011 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • guruofgame

      Totally irrelevant comment, but maliciously illogical. Suggest you get on Ron Paul's website to see a video called: Imagine.

      December 19, 2011 at 7:59 pm | Reply
    • Eric

      You really need to look at the difference between isolationism vs non interventionism. N. Korea is serverly isolationist whereas Ron Paul supports non intervention.

      December 19, 2011 at 8:53 pm | Reply
  54. Emilio Dumphuque

    This all sounds a little like Imperial Japan, hardly a model communist state.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:39 am | Reply
  55. The Kim Family Theme Song

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AK7YGBVpdlg&w=640&h=360]

    December 19, 2011 at 10:32 am | Reply
  56. Senior Pedro

    Hmm, how about an election? There's a concept.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
    • SFC Mike

      The North Korean people would just ask who they're supposed to vote for, and the government would tell them. There's such a degree of cradle to grave Orwell-on-steroids control of people's lives, thoughts and access to the real world that the people of the DPRK can't imagine the concept of thinking independently and forming a government.

      December 19, 2011 at 11:13 am | Reply
      • alan seago

        Pedro: I suspect SFC Mike is correct. Most likely, if North Korea had an election, they'd elect Kim Il Sung. Yes, I know he's dead, but I'm not sure that would matter to them. (Not that we Americans should feel condescending toward the North Koreans about that. The State of Missouri elected Mel Carnahan to the Senate in 2000, despite the fact that Carnahan died a week or two earlier. [Although in retrospect, I think Mel would have done a better job, despite his rather inanimate demeanor, than the live people in the Senate today.])

        December 19, 2011 at 11:30 am |
    • Kim Il Sung

      Me rikey use election on big Amelican girl with pimple! Make her smell rike kim chee!

      December 19, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Reply

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