Kim II Sung Dies

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Kim II Sung Dies - 0 - - v JOHN Hall Kim's death leaves U.S....
0 - - v JOHN Hall Kim's death leaves U.S. uncomfortable WASHINGTON While the end of the 46-year reign of a Stalinist tyrant is no cause for mourning here, U.S. officials do not at the moment see much good emerging from the death of North Korean President Kim II Sung, and a lot that could go very wrong. Kim's 52-year-old son, Kim Jong II, widely seen as unstable, has moved swiftly to consolidate control of the country. Although widely anticipated, that is far from a hopeful development He rises to power at possibly the worst possible moment in history during a critical and dangerous dispute over North Korea's emerging nuclear weapons program that had showed signs of abating under his father. : For U.S. officials, there is nothing to do but hold their breath, wait for developments and try to hold North Korea to Kim II Sung's promise of a freeze on his country's production of plutonium. Return to negotiations President Clinton, backed by other world leaders, urged North Korean negotiators in Geneva to return to the bargaining table after an "appropriate" interval for the funeral an unusual recognition in the midst of a condolence statement that an indefinite mourning can't be permitted to cloak a continued secret development of nuclear weapons. Later, at the Group of Seven summit in Italy, the president said initial contacts with the North Koreans about resuming talks had been "hopeful." : Kim II Sung's death as is everything in the world's most isolated and secretive nation is a mystery. ; Although he was 82, he had appeared vigorous and in excellent health during his boat ride just two weeks ago with former President Carter. ; There had been some signs during Carter's visit that underlings, possibly including Kim Jong II, himself, had been surprised by the concessions the older man had made to the president, and were very reluctant to agree to them. . Because of Kim II Sung's age, intelligence experts here have been extensively analyzing scenarios for a succession struggle in the event of the his death, and most of them have focused on his mop-topped son. They draw a picture of Kim Jong II as an immature narcissist who once ordered a South Korean actress and her husband kidnapped and brought to him because of his passion for filmmaking. . Worse, he has been linked directly to terrorism, including the bombing of a planeload of South Korean officials. Gradually over the past decade, Kim Jong II has been given heavier responsibilities. In 1991, he was made armed forces commander-in-chief, and U.S. officials believe he has been in full charge of North Korea's nuclear program during the period when suspicious activities have been uncovered by international inspectors and U.S. spy satellites. A few potential rivals have been identified, including an ex-wife of Kim II Sung and a younger brother who emerged in a high post after a 17-year absence. But there has been no doubt that the son was being groomed as a successor and the public conditioned to accept him. If this is a bad moment for the world to have a change in leadership in North Korea, it is a worse moment for Kim Jong II to govern. Economy in chaos North Korea's economy was ravaged as the Soviet empire collapsed. In addition, old allies like China began demanding cash for oil and other exports, and angered Pyongyang by opening relations with South Korea. . As desperation has spread, there have been sporadic and unconfirmed reports of rural uprisings and attempted coups in recent years against Kim II Sung. Although he was a puppet installed by the Soviets after World War II, he had the status of a virtual deity among North Koreans. Whether his son can keep such control is doubtful. But the prospect of a political implosion destgbilization and even civil war is of little comfort to South Korea. Seoul fears a heavy exodus of refugees that would inevitably be created and has urged that reunification be accomplished normally rather than by sudden upheaval like what occurred in eastern Europe. The top concern of U.S. leaders is that Kim Jong II will defy the United Nations and put his country on a war footing in order to preserve the dynasty. If the nuclear talks should break down, that could be an enormous new complication when the United Nations imposes economic sanctions to apply further pressure. v ) North Korea's Kim II Sung, at right, embraces Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in Beijing in 1987. At far right, Kim is shown in 1949 reviewing Soviet troops at Yaroslave Station after arriving in Moscow. I If :1 .in Li Associated Press photo Associated Press photo Kim was md to N. Korea Not much known about son A New York Times Report TOKYO The man who is expected to be the next leader of North Korea has been described as a ruthless terrorist, a spoiled playboy and an erratic manager who will have trouble keeping control of his country. But perhaps the only thing that can be said with certainty about Kim Jong II is that very little is known about him. Most foreign visitors to North Korea, including former President Carter on his recent trip, have been turned down when they asked to meet Kim Jong II, 52, who has been groomed for two decades to take over from his father. They are generally told that he is out in the villages working with peasants or that it would be impolite for Vim in nn. Kim Jong II stage nis fa then And even North Koreans, while worshiping the younger Kim as the "Dear Leader" and putting pictures of him in their homes, had never heard his voice until two years ago. Some analysts say that the younger Kim has had effective day-to-day control of the government for about two years. He was suspected of being behind North Korea's move last year to withdraw from the Nuclear Nonprolif-eration Treaty, which precipitated a long-running crisis. But Selig Harrison, senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said he believes Kim is interested in gradually opening North Korea to foreign investment and industry. "People who are close to Kim Jong II are generally what you would call the reformist element in North Korea," said Harrison. Analysts say it is still not certain that Kim Jong II will become the new leader. But the early signs from North Korea indicate this will be the case. Pudgy and bespectacled, he is considered less charismatic than his father, respected perhaps, but not revered like Kim II Sung. -irniTTMinn. h-toft -t-i . eana.. fac .t , ;L.. - - - - - ' ; i m 1 n I I L f 1 - -, -, Shunned by the rest of the world, the North Korean ruler turned his nation into a land of adoring subjects. Associated Press photo A North Korean family bows before a giant statue of Kim II Sung in the capital of Pyongyang. The nation is filled with statues, pictures and references to the last of the Stalinist dictators. Even the word "communism" was changed to "the thought of Kim II Sung." An Associated Press Report TOKYO Kim II Sung ruled the world's most reclusive society for more than four decades, the object of a slavish personality cult that made him a god in an officially atheistic state. Universities, stadiums and squares are named after him. A heroic 65-foot bronze statue of him graces central Pyongyang. Buildings throughout the country celebrate his birthday or mark his achievements. Even the word "communism" was changed to "the thought of Kim II Sung." While officially revered at home, Kim in his final years became increasingly isolated internationally. His hard-line Communist nation seemed like an outpost from another era as the Cold War ended. Both China and the Soviet Union, North Korea's key patrons, stunned Kim by establishing diplomatic relations with archrival South Korea, a testament to the South's growing economic punch. Kim's status as an international pariah grew as his government was blamed for spectacular terrorist operations, including a 1983 assassination attempt on the South Korean president and the 1987 midair bombing of a South Korean jetliner. Although Kim was widely accused of severe human rights violations at home, his official biographies probably no other national leader has had so many are pure hagiography. The official story of his early life goes like this: He was born Kim Sung Ju on April 15, 1912, in Nakyungdae, a village near Pyongyang that became a shrine known as "the Cradle of the World Revolution." Kim was active in the underground movement while in high school in eastern Manchuria. He took the name Kim II Sung, after a famous Korean guerrilla hero, and fought Japanese colonizers along the Manchuria-Korea border. He joined the Chinese Communist Party in 1934, and escaped Japanese police who had put a price on his head. He headed for Moscow, joined the Soviet Communist Party and fought as a major in the Red Army against the Nazis. Kim returned to Korea with the Soviet occupation army in 1945, a month before the Americans entered the southern part of the peninsula. How much of the tale is fiction is unclear. Kim's first recorded public appearance was not until October 1945, as chairman of the October Revolution Memorial meeting in Pyongyang. With Soviet help, he became premier of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 1948, and was named president in 1972. From the start, Kim's avowed goal was a united, Communist Korea. In June 1950, supplied with Soviet planes and tanks, he invaded South Korea, routed the de fenders and seized large portions of the country. When a United Nations force led by U.S. troops outflanked Kim's forces at Inchon and drove them back north, China joined the conflict with a massive wave of soldiers. The war turned into a long, bloody stalemate. When a truce came in 1953, both sides were essentially where they had begun. The peninsula was devastated. Kim's vitriolic propaganda did not lessen, but he turned his main efforts to rebuilding his devastated country. Isolated by sanctions that cut North Korea off from much of the rest of the world, he formulated his "Juche" philosophy of political and economic self-reliance, reinforcing his nation's seclusion. In the past decade, South Korean economic and diplomatic successes stung Kim II Sung. Seoul's winning bids for the 1986 Asian Games and the 1988 Olympic Games were thought by many observers to have encouraged him to risk new adventures. On October 7, 1983, a bomb set by North Korean terrorists exploded at a national shrine in Ran' goon, Burma, killing 21 people, including four visiting South Korean Cabinet ministers. In November 1987, a bomb planted by a North Korean spy blew up on a South Korean airliner, killing all 115 people aboard. As Moscow and Beijing warmed to Seoul, North Korea looked for new friends with deep pockets. It began talks with Japan on normalizing relations and said it would like to improve relations with Washington. left V izr i Agence France-Press photo South Korean soldiers, now on alert, patrol the border between North and South Korea Saturday. Clinton says Korea talks may continue A Dallas Morning News Report NAPLES, Italy President Clinton said Saturday that preliminary signals coming from North Korea bode well for continued nuclear talks despite the death of President Kim II Sung. But U.S. officials in Italy also acknowledged that they know little about what shape a new government would take there and said the situation bears careful watching. Clinton said the North Koreans have said they want to continue the nuclear talks In Geneva, which began Friday, after a brief postponement. He said they apparently also intend to proceed with their summit July 25 with Sotith Korea. "So we believe that they will stay with their policy and stay with their course, that this reflects the feelings of the leadership in North Korea and not simply the feelings of Kim II Sung," he said. Secretary of State Warren Christopher agreed, however, that the United States must monitor the situation closely. "Any change in leadership in a country as remote as North Korea or any change that comes suddenly clearly deserves very careful watching, and we'll be watching this situation with great care over the next several days and weeks," he said. Kim's death comes at a pivotal moment in the U.S. effort to get North Korea to allow nurtear Inspections and to halt its nu- V clear program. After months of heightened tension between the two countries, Kim took a more flexible stance following a visit by former President Carter. In an interview with CNN Saturday, Carter said, "We hope that officials in North Korea honor the memory of their leader by honoring the commitments he made to us two weeks ago. He was a great leader in the last 50 years, and he made a great peace commitment to us." National Security Adviser Anthony Lake said the United States had agreed to the North Koreans' request to postpone the talks in Geneva "for a couple of days." The North Korean delegation, he said, obviously would need to consult with ffi- 4 4 Any change in leadership in a country as remote as North Korea or any change that comes suddenly clearly deserves very careful watching. ... Secretary of State Warren Christopher cials in Pyongyang. Lake said the U.S. delegation would remain in Geneva. The president accepted the recommendation of top military aides that U.S. forces in South Korea did not need to be placed on alert, even though South Korean troops have been. Lake said U.S. military leaders were watching the situation, but detected no signs of threatening movements. 1 V

Clipped from
  1. The Tampa Tribune,
  2. 10 Jul 1994, Sun,
  3. Main Edition,
  4. Page 10

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