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View more articles by Dennis P. Halpin
Dennis P. Halpin
Dennis P. Halpin, a former Foreign Service Officer and senior Congressional staff, is a consultant on Asian issues.
Those in the inner circle in Pyongyang must have been unnerved once again with the recent news of the sudden fall of Defense Minister Hyon Yong Chol. As he reportedly went before a firing squad, Hyon could have reflected upon Cardinal Woolsey’s alleged warning to future Lord Privy Seal Thomas Cromwell, who later went to the scaffold for beheading on London’s Tower Hill: “Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition: by that sin fell the angels.”
“Here today, gone tomorrow” has become just as much a part of court life under Kim Jong Un as it was during the Tudor reign of Henry VIII. People must be asking each other: Is anyone safe? There was even speculation about a possible fall from grace when Kim Jong Un’s attractive wife Ri Sol Ju suddenly disappeared for a time off of the radar screen. She had previously maintained a far higher public profile than any past wives in the North Korean leadership. While Ri has resurfaced again, her status remains far from certain. If Dennis Rodman is to be believed, she has produced – like Anne Boleyn – only a daughter as heir apparent for the sacrosanct Baekdu bloodline. And we all know what happened to that English queen after she failed to produce a male heir.