chapter  8
40 Pages

The young marshal takes command: 2011–16

ByAdrian Buzo

Two weeks after his father's death on 17 December 2011, at age 27 Kim Jong Un was named Supreme Commander of the Korean People's Armed Forces, thereby becoming the third leader of the Guerilla Dynasty. Immediately, many of the assumptions that were made when his father took over in 1994 surfaced again, for whatever his father might have done to ensure a successful transfer of power, change, whether intended or unintended, had to come. Like so many social causes and international issues, broader awareness of the extent of human rights abuses in the DPRK has moved to its own timetable, whereby serious abuses were known to have existed practically from the founding of the DPRK, but they lacked human faces and voices, and so monumental suffering continued amid near silence from the international community for decades. Widely differing assessments of the Kim Jong Un administration continue to characterise external commentary.