Report: North Korea’s Kim Has ‘Firm Grip’ on Power; No Signs of Reform

Posted July 25th, 2012 at 4:20 am (UTC-5)
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A new report says North Korea's new leader Kim Jong Un faces no serious threat to his rule and is not likely to enact reforms in the impoverished country.

The International Crisis Group said Wednesday there are no clear signs of a conspiracy to overthrow the young leader, despite this month's removal of a top military leader.

Several unconfirmed South Korean media reports suggested a possible power struggle in Pyongyang after top military commander Ri Yong Ho was dismissed last week from all his military and political posts.

But the ICG report's lead author, senior analyst Daniel Pinkston, tells VOA that Mr. Kim has a “firm grip” on power. He also says he does not see any “significant policy changes” in the future.

The report said the young leader, who took power following his father's unexpected death in December, could “well be around for decades — and with a growing nuclear arsenal.”

It warned Pyongyang could engage in more military provocation, such as testing more long-range missiles or another nuclear bomb in an effort to bolster Mr. Kim's military credentials.