chapter  7
28 Pages

Regroup and strike: 2004–11

ByAdrian Buzo

In terms of his own objectives, Kim Jong Il completed his first decade as leader with a mixed record of relative success abroad, but more qualified success at home. This latter assessment may present to some as a gross understatement for a leader who had just presided over the famine deaths of a million of his countrymen, but it also underlines the extent to which Kim was a leader like no other in a state like no other. Therefore, most important from his perspective was that he had navigated the uncharted waters of the hereditary succession and had established his own autocracy. Kim was, of course, quite perceptive in seeing regime threat in the rise of private economic activity, for it reflected the eroded control of party and government over DPRK society. The Tenth Supreme People's Assembly, the first under the son'gun system, duly completed its five-year term, and after elections in August 2003 the Eleventh SPA convened in September.