Who is in charge of North Korea?

Concentration camps, starving populace, brutal authoritarian regime, and loose nukes; what could possibly go wrong with North Korea?

(TimeMag) — As odd and erratic as the North Koreans might be, they are not about to inaugurate new leadership by raining nuclear destruction on their Asian-Pacific neighbors – and they probably couldn’t do so even if they wanted. While North Korea has enough fuel for six or eight small nuclear weapons, it doesn’t have the technology to put them on missiles. Nor are its missiles particularly accurate beyond a short range.

I guess we’ll find out soon enough. But the littlest Kim, Jong-Il’s son Kim Jong-un, has only been groomed for autocracy for a year or two. It’s unclear how much support the 28 year-old really has among top military brass and the handful of wealthy patrons in the nation. It’s not even certain how old he is, estimates vary from 26 to 29. And I have to admit, I have a bad feeling about this whole deal.

Breaking: North Korea’s Kim Jong II dead at 69

News that Kim Jong-il, the enigmatic leader of impoverished North Korea, died of a heart attack on Saturday has ripped through one of the last truly communist countries like a monsoon this morning. The late dictator was 69 years-old. Presidents, prime-ministers, and monarchs are watching intently to see what now becomes of the world’s most isolated nation. So far it’s a grief-fest:

(Telegraph) — There was wariness about where North Korea goes now under Kim Jong-il’s son, but Britain, France and Germany voiced tentative hope for a new dawn at the end of a tumultuous year that has seen regimes topple across the Middle East. The “Dear Leader”, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), “passed away from a great mental and physical strain” at 8:30am on Saturday (23.30 GMT Friday) while travelling by train on one of his field trips. It urged people to support the Swiss-educated Kim Jong-Un, who is in his late 20s and was last year made a four-star general and given top ruling party posts despite having had no public profile.

There’s a lot of speculation on what happens next, and Odin knows I’m no expert on North Korea. Could this mark the unofficial end of the Korean War and eventual reunification of that torn peninsula? What would that mean to South Korea, to China, and the world?

Oh, and sorry about the lack of posts over the weekend. I did some well earned vacationing and I guess I didn’t understand the ghost scheduling feature as well as I should.