Schrödinger's Kim: And What It Laid Bare about the North Korean Succession Process

Date
2021
Authors
Ketchum, Joseph Vincent
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Abstract

This body of work is an attempt to come to a clear theory of succession for the hereditary transition of the leadership of North Korea. Prior to this body of work little had been written about it in detail, and what had tended to suggest it was a fluke, even when the second succession was successful. After the event in spring of 2020 where Kim Jong-un had disappeared from the public view for a period of about three weeks (referred to by the author as Schrödinger’s Kim), we have been afforded with another opportunity to observe the North Korean succession process and have a third data set to initiate comparison with. The first comparison is made between the two completed transitions to attempt to build a theory of North Korean succession, then a comparison will be done between the theory and the latest succession process to test its mettle. The process itself will only be discussed as facets of the Kim hereditary line and their relation to the governmental structure and rule, in isolation of nearly every other event or station that does not involve them directly. The theory has five facets that appear to be required for successful succession: pre-succession activities, health scare, first appointments, claim to fame event(s), and final appointments.

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Keywords
autocracy, hereditary, North Korea, succession
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Department
Global Affairs