North Korea this week marks the 10th anniversary of the death of Kim Jong-il, who ruled the country from 1994 to 2011, when he was relieved by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, who was just 29 years old at the time.
Since the death of the ‘beloved leader’, the Asian nation has lived several important milestones in its history: participation in the Winter Olympics held in South Korea as part of the idea of a unified Korea, the reestablishment of relations with the US (culminating in a meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un) , a historic meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and a new leap in the development of ballistic weapons, which Pyongyang continues to test and which is drawing international criticism.
Duyeon Kim, a researcher at the Center for a New American Security, pointed out that the most important thing for Kim now will be to lift North Korea out of its post-pandemic crisis and chart a credible path to economic recovery.
“Even if Pyongyang chooses to isolate itself until the pandemic subsides, North Korea has proven resilient before, surviving the harshest of famines in the 1990s, and China will always continue to help keep the country afloat," says the specialist. “I think we will see Kim Jong-un reign for several more decades if he can maintain his health.”
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