Fast Market Research recommends "North Korea Defence & Security Report 2013" from Business Monitor International, now available
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 12/28/2012 -- Political Risk Analysis - Latest Developments
We remain vigilant towards the Korean Peninsula in 2013, as North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un consolidates his power and a new president takes office in the South. Kim Jong Un has shown signs of wanting to reduce the influence of the military so that he can devote more of North Korea's limited resources towards the civilian sector and reform the economy, but he faces powerful vested interests that favour preserving the status quo. Kim will thus be forced to retain a tough policy towards the South, regardless of who is elected president there in December 2012. However, in doing so he would risk losing an opportunity to improve inter-Korean relations.
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Although Kim Jong Un replaced several military leaders in 2012, it remains unclear whether he has supreme authority over North Korea or must still defer to his powerful uncle and aunt and other senior generals. We suspect that owing to his youth and inexperience, Kim is heavily influenced by his late father's inner circle. This would appear to point to continuity in domestic and foreign policy. However, given that many senior North Korean officials are now in their 70s and even 80s, a generational shift through natural attrition will present opportunities for Kim Jong Un to accumulate more authority.
North Korea will remain a formidable military threat to its neighbours due to its massive 1.1-million strong conventional armed forces, and its weapons of mass destruction, which include nuclear weapons. That said, the very public failure of an attempted satellite launch in April 2012 demonstrated that Pyongyang has yet to perfect its rocket technology. Nevertheless, we do not expect North Korea to make any meaningful concessions on its nuclear weapons programme, because it regards its atomic weapons arsenal as the ultimate guarantor of regime security, in the face of potential external attack.
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