The DPRK released a series of photo sets today to various foreign media outlets to demonstrate the robustness of Kim Jong Il’s health, Fuji Television reports. Government and private image analysts are saying the photos are definitely not from October, as the DPRK maintains, and may not even be from this year. Several problems are obvious in the photos including the condition of the foliage relative to the North Korean winter and the presence of a festival-related structure in one picture which should be standing in May, not October.
This leads to the presumption that not only is Kim Jong Il not well enough to publicly display, but that North Korea is worried enough about the standing public perception that he is now absent from power that they feel the need to lie in a way which is sloppy, ill-considered and somewhat unusual for them. This, in combination with a few other mysteriously desperate-looking measures such as reinvogorating their nuclear program, give the appearance of a very worried, very directionless power structure.
How will this affect the region? Will it hasten a reconcilliation with South Korea? Questions such as this lead to a lot more questions which will require a lot of time and thought I just don’t have right now. Interesting points to ponder are what will a united Korea’s foreign policy be? (Prediction: Neutral towards the U.S. and very anti-Japan) Can South Korea digest and metabolize the entirety of North Korean desolation without greater problems than West Germany had? (Prediction: No.)