The Last Days of Kim Jong-il
The North Korean Threat in a Changing Era
Publication Year: 2013
North Korea has remained a thorn in the side of the United States ever since its creation in the aftermath of the Korean conflict of 1950û1953. Crafting a foreign policy that effectively deals with North Korea, while still ensuring stability and security on the Korean Peninsula-and in Northeast Asia as a whole-has proved very challenging for successive American administrations. In the wake of ruler Kim Jong-il's death in December 2011, analysts and policymakers continue to speculate about the effect his last years as leader will have on the future of North Korea.
Bruce Bechtol, Jr. contends that Kim Jong-il's regime (1994-2011) exacerbated the threats that North Korea posed, and still poses, to the world. Bechtol explains how North Korea presents important challenges on five key fronts: its evolving conventional military threat, its strategy in the Northern Limit Line (NLL) area, its nuclear capabilities, its support for terrorism, and its handling of the succession process.
Bechtol's analysis clears up the persistent mystery of how Kim Jong-il's dysfunctional government in its final years was able to persist in power while both presenting a grave danger to its neighbors and setting the stage for the current government. This work addresses issues important for policymakers and academics who must deal with those in power in North Korea.
Published by: University of Nebraska Press
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Title Page, Other Works by the Author, Other Works in the Series, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Illustrations
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The Kim Jong-il era in North Korea began with the death of his father,Kim Il-sung, in 1994 and ended with his own death in 2011 after sufferingfrom a variety of ailments. While the United States was never on friendlyterms with North Korea, the Kim Jong-il era represented a time when rela-tions were perhaps more tense than they had been since the end of the...
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...orth Korea is a nation-state that has been a thorn in the side of up with a foreign policy that effectively deals with North Korea while stillensuring stability and security on the Korean Peninsula—and in NortheastAsia as a whole—continues to be a priority that has been met with mixedsuccess.1 With Kim Jong-il’s death at the end of 2011, a great deal of dis-...
2 Maintaining a Rogue Military: North Korea’s Military Capabilities and Strategy at the End of the Kim Jong-il Era and South Korea’s Ability to Counter the DPRK Threat
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...orth Korea was a constant source of news from 2009 through 2011 and into 2012 after the death of the Dear Leader. Kim Jong-il’s health issues in 2009 led to a plethora of pondering press pieces all overEast Asia and in the United States. Indeed, questions about how long theDear Leader would continue to live also led to international curiosity about...
3 The Sinking of the Cheonan and the Shelling of Yeonpyeong Island: A Case Study of North Korea’s Asymmetric Northern Limit Line Strategy
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...coast that separates the two Koreas, and launched what an investigation hasnow determined was a CHT-02D, indigenously produced, wake-homingtorpedo at the ROK Navy ship Cheonan. The torpedo produced a bubbleeffect, causing an explosion that split the ship in half. Forty-six naval per-sonnel (out of a crew of 104) perished in the attack.1 At the time of the...
4 Planning for the Unthinkable: Countering a North Korean Nuclear Attack and Management of Postattack Scenarios
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...orth Korea’s nuclear program first came to the forefront as a threat to world and regional security in 1994, when former American pres-ident Jimmy Carter was able to bring Pyongyang back from the brink andFramework. Since that time, North Korea has been engaged in on-again,off-again talks with the United States and other key players in the region;...
5 North Korea and Support for Terrorism: An Evolving History
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...orth Korea’s support for terrorism began at least as early as the 1960s as a story about an ideologically based policy (largely financed by theSoviet Union) and ends with a policy designed to put money into the coffersof the elite in Pyongyang, or in short, a “proliferation for hire” policy.1 Tounderstand Pyongyang’s current policy of supporting non-state actors—most...
6 Conclusion: The Impact of the Last Years of the Kim Jong-il Regime on the Future of North Korea
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...he premise of this book is that the final days of Kim Jong-il had a Jong-il apparently did not feel compelled to begin a succession process inany kind of focused way until after he had suffered a stroke in 2008.1 Thereasons for this are still quite puzzling. In Confucian societies, the oldestson is the traditional heir, yet both the first and second sons proved not to...
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About the Author
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Bruce E. Bechtol, Jr., is associate professor of political science at AngeloState University and a retired marine. He was formerly on the faculty at theMarine Corps Command and Staff College (2005–2010) and the AirCommand and Staff College (2003–2005). Dr. Bechtol served as anadjunct visiting professor at the Korea University Graduate School of...
Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2013