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2011: South Korea's Lee Myung-bak is One Man Washington Can Agree On

In Washington, Lee Myung-bak (L), President of the Republic of Korea, begins his address to Congress, with Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker John Boehner (R) behind him, on Oct. 13, 2011. (Flickr/SpeakerBoehner)
Policy

Americans say in poll after poll that they yearn for a leader who will come to Washington, cut through the gridlock, and get the nation’s business done. This year, that leader arrived — South Korean President Lee Myung-bak.

Whiting: During This DPRK Changeover, South Koreans Not Hoarding Rice

Residents walk past newspapers showing the late North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il and his son Kim Jong-Un outside a convenience store in Seoul on December 20, 2011. (Sam Yeh/AFP/Getty Images)
Policy

When long-time North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung died in 1994, nervous South Koreans rushed to the stores and hoarded basic necessities such as rice, canned meat and instant noodles in fear of another Korean War. The "Great Leader" was dead and his son, Kim Jong Il was taking over. This was uncharted territory.

Lee: 'Nasty Palace Politics and Back Stabbing' Could Destroy Kim Jong Un

A street peddler shows the North Korean bank notes featuring late North Korean leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il along the waterfront of Yalu river in Dandong, in China's northeastern Liaoning province on December 20, 2011. (Liu Jin/AFP/Getty Images)
Policy

On the surface, North Korea is calmly coping with the sudden death of its Dear Leader Kim Jong Il. His youngest son and heir, Kim Jong Un, seems to be in charge, smoothly preparing a state funeral for the 28th. Pyongyang media already call him “The Great Successor.”

2011: Post Nuclear Tragedy, Three Inspiring Environmental Shifts in Japan

Lifestyle

This is part of a series of year-end posts on Asia Blog written by Asia Society experts and Associate Fellows looking back on noteworthy events in 2011. You can read the entire series here.

French: Why Kim Jong Un Should Mourn Until 2013

Kim Jong Un (C), dubbed the
Policy

Paul French, author of North Korea: The Paranoid Peninsula, says "we shouldn't expect anything of substance to come out of Pyongyang for a year."

Videos/Tweets: Weeping and Laughing for the 'Dear Leader'

Crowds in Pyongyang mourn the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on Dec 19,  2011. ( Korea's Korean Central News Agency)
Multimedia

North Koreans have entered 12 days of mourning in honor of their longtime leader Kim Jong Il — a complex dictator known as much for pursuing nuclear weaponry while his people starved as his zippered jumpsuits and obsession with Hennessy cognac.

Gilholm: Kim Jong Il's Death Reduces Regime's Life Expectancy

A portrait of the late Kim Jong Il in Pyongyang, North Korea. (Joseph A Ferris III/Flickr)
Policy

Kim Jong Il's reported death on December 17 is the biggest shock to the country's regime since the passing of his father in 1994. Forecasting what will happen to an authoritarian regime after a leadership succession is inherently rather speculative, and nowhere is this more true than in North Korea. However, we can venture a few observations, and in very broad terms estimate the probability of various types of scenarios.

Stumpf: Kim Jong Il's Death an Opportunity for US, China

The front pages of Tokyo's major evening newspapers report the death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il on December 19, 2011 in Tokyo. (Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)
Policy

It would be understandable if, observing the post-Kim Jong Il era, the United States, China, South Korea and Japan saw more peril than promise. However, the history of North Korean negotiation indicates a small possibility of progress toward peace on the Korean peninsula and North Korea’s denuclearization.

Photo of the Day: Kim Jong Il and His Generals

Multimedia

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il meets with Korean People's Army personnel in September 1988. He died of an apparent heart attack on Saturday at 69. (AFP/Getty Images) (More coverage from Asia Society)

Lintner: North Korea's King is Dead, But the Military Still Rules

North Korean leader Kim Jong Il waves from a car after the meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev at Sosnovy Bor Military Garrison, Zaigrayevsky District, Buryatia outside Ulan-Ude on August 24, 2011. (Dmitry Astakhov/AFP/Getty Images)
Policy

The King is dead! Long live the King! The old European cry when a monarch died and a new one took over was meant to prevent any argument over succession and make sure the throne was never empty. And this could just as well apply to North Korea today. Kim Jong Il had already a year before he died anointed his successor, his youngest son Kim Jong Un.