The world is holding its breath over what will happen next in North Korea, as the 29-year old heir of Kim Jong-il is set to take power.
Euronews spoke to Alexander Vorontsov from the Institute of Oriental Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Reporter Ioulia Poukhlii asked him who was in charge of North Korea right now.
Alexander Vorontsov: “Of course, it’s Kim Jong-Un. He is in power. Kim Jong-Un is the formal successor, already the name that people have been given. It’s only a matter of time before it’s made official. Of course he is young and lacks administrative experience. But the advisers of the old guard will help him. This is not something new and it doesn’t mean he’s not completely independent. This means that when it comes to power in North Korea there’s always a balance between the leadership and the collective. The question is: what is that balance?”
Ioulia Poukhlii, euronews: “Little is known about the new leader, except that for the past two years he’s been preparing to take power. What defines him as the new leader of North Korea ?
Alexander Vorontsov: “He turned out to be very capable and worthy. In any case, he did not make any visible mistakes in the early stages. He was always close to his father and was presented to the people. And the people generally accepted him. Anyway, me and other foreigners have heard that ordinary people think he looks like his grandfather Kim Il Sung, which ordinary Koreans like. Of course, we lack information about him. But at least he has shown himself to be someone quite capable and there is reason to believe that he will be able to gain experience.”
Ioulia Poukhlii, euronews: “Kim Jong-il’s death can be seen as an opportunity for change – are there any signs a change is possible?”
Alexander Vorontsov: “On the question of whether North Korea will change its direction, will change quickly and decisively – that depends not only on North Korea but also its neighbours. And now we can say that fate has really given opponents of North Korea an opportunity – the U.S, South Korea and Japan, which in recent years have had a policy of isolation, putting pressure on North Korea. Maybe now they think that it’s possible to start from scratch. But if the current climate, the intention to exploit the youth and inexperience of the leader wins, and if we try to turn up the heat on North Korea to achieve a policy of regime change – in this case the hopes for change, for a new direction, will not be met.”