On December 17, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Il died. The state pressannounced that his youngest son, Kim Jong-Un, is the “great successor.” There’s a clear pattern where each step towards succession is accompanied with a provocation, reflecting the regime’s belief that its ills can be cured through conflict. At only 27 or 28 years old, Kim Jong-Un is out to prove himself, and the short-range missile test that followed his official takeover isn’t going to cut it.
Kim Jong-Un is largely a mystery. He wasn’t even formally mentioned in North Korea’s state press until October 2010. His age, mother and marital status aren’t even known. It is reported that British intelligence assess that he has an “explosive temper” and suffers from severe hypertension, giving little hope that his mental state is any better than his father’s.
In October 2010, he was given the rank of a four-star general, even though he has no military experience whatsoever. His young age, lack of experience and the decreasing support of the North Korean army and population make it difficult for Kim Jong-Un to ensure the stability of the regime. A cable published by Wikileaks reveals that the top national security advisor to the South Korean president believes the regime will collapse within 2 to 3 years after Kim Jong-Il’s death.