May 16, 2021

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Fourteen days which shook the country: Kim Jong Un’s rise to power

The young leader was swiftly established as his father's successor

This is the second part of a two-part series on the death of Kim Jong Il and the subsequent to rise to power of Kim Jong Un. Read part one here.

Everyone who studies North Korea remembers where they were when they learned Kim Jong Il had died. I remember that on December 18 I was talking to a South Korean friend, and jokingly told her “well, we can’t predict the future. For example, Kim Jong Il may die tomorrow.” The next day, just after noon, I got a message from her: “Kim Jong Il died. Just as you said, Fyodor."