News

 

DATE=  10/9/97

TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT

NUMBER=2-221028

TITLE=N. KOREA / KIM PROSPECTS (L-ONLY)

BYLINE=KATE WILTROUT

DATELINE=SEOUL

CONTENT=

VOICED AT:  



INTRO: SOME EXPERTS ON NORTH KOREA ARE SAYING THAT NORTH KOREAN 

LEADER KIM JONG-IL'S NEW ROLE AS THE GENERAL-SECRETARY OF THE  

WORKERS PARTY MAY MAKE THE POSSIBILITY OF REFORM IN THE TROUBLED 

SOCIALIST STATE EVEN MORE REMOTE.  KATE WILTROUT REPORTS FROM 

SEOUL THAT  OBSERVERS IN SOUTH KOREA EXPECT LITTLE TO CHANGE  NOW

THAT MR. KIM HAS GAINED HIS LATE FATHER'S PARTY POST.



TEXT:  THE CHIEF NORTH KOREA ANALYST AT THE KOREA INSTITUTE  OF 

NATIONAL REUNIFICATION,  SUH JAE-JEAN, SAYS HE DOES NOT  EXPECT 

ANY POLICY CHANGES AFTER MR. KIM IS INAUGURATED.  KIM JONG-IL HAS

BEEN THE DE-FACTO LEADER OF NORTH KOREA SINCE HIS FATHER'S DEATH 

THREE YEARS AGO. HIS ELECTION TO THE TOP COMMUNIST  PARTY POST 

WAS ANNOUNCED WEDNESDAY.



NORTH KOREA HAS EXPERIENCED NEGATIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH FOR SEVEN 

STRAIGHT YEARS.  THE SOUTH KOREAN GOVERNMENT ESTIMATES THE NORTH 

WILL BE TWO MILLION TONS SHORT OF FOOD THIS YEAR, FOR ITS 

STARVING POPULATION.



SOME ANALYSTS SAY THAT ASSUMING FORMAL LEADERSHIP OF THE  PARTY 

MAY GIVE MR. KIM MORE POWER TO EFFECT CHANGE.   THEY ANTICIPATE 

HE MAY TRY TO  OPEN UP THE NORTH'S ECONOMY, LONG STUNTED BY THE 

NATION'S  POLICY OF SELF-RELIANCE.



BUT MR. SUH -- WHO WORKS FOR A STATE-FUNDED THINK TANK AND 

REFLECTS THE  VIEW OF MANY GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS --  SAYS THAT 

FOLLOWING IN HIS FATHER'S  FOOTSTEPS AS PARTY HEAD LIMITS MR. KIM

HISTORICALLY AND PERSONALLY. THE LEADERSHIP SUCCESSION MAKES IT 

DIFFICULT FOR MR. KIM TO CRITICIZE PREVIOUS POLICIES  OR 

OTHERWISE TARNISH HIS FATHER'S LEGACY.



MR. SUH SAYS KIM IL JONG IS NOT IN A POSITION TO BEGIN REFORMS 

AND THAT IT WILL TAKE NEW NORTH KOREAN LEADERSHIP TO DEAL WITH 

THE COUNTRY'S MASSIVE  PROBLEMS.              



SOUTH KOREAN FOREIGN MINISTRY OFFICIALS SAY THEY EXPECT LITTLE 

CHANGE IN NORTH KOREA'S ECONOMIC, MILITARY OR DIPLOMATIC 

POLICIES.  BUT NATIONAL UNIFICATION MINISTER KWON O-KIE HAS 

EXPRESSED HOPE FOR INTERNAL CHANGE.  COMMENTING ON MR. KIM'S 

APPOINTMENT, MR. KWON SAID HE HOPES THAT NORTH KOREA WILL TAKE 

STEPS TO, IN HIS WORDS,  RE-ESTABLISH STABILITY AND WORK TOWARD 

REAL CHANGE. 



BUT THE CONSENSUS OF MOST EXPERTS HERE IS THAT THERE WILL BE NO 

FUNDAMENTAL POLICY CHANGES OR ANNOUNCEMENTS, SOON.  AS POLITICAL 

ANALYST SUH JAE-JEAN PUTS IT, ANY INTERNAL REFORM WILL BE "VERY 

VERY LIMITED" AND COME **VERY VERY SLOWLY.''   HE SAYS THE 

REUNIFICATION INSTITUTE WILL BE WATCHING MR. KIM'S MOVES CLOSELY 

PAYING SPECIAL ATTENTION TO ANY SPEECHES HE MAY MAKE IN THE 

UPCOMING DAYS.  (SIGNED)



NEB/KW/FC/EH



09-Oct-97 5:09 AM EDT (0909 UTC)

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Source: Voice of America

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