‘Pakistan can help North Korea chart a new course’

Pakistan can help nuclear-armed North Korea chart a new course following the death of its top leader Kim Jong-il, a leading daily said Wednesday.

Last Updated: Dec 21, 2011, 13:07 PM IST

Islamabad: Pakistan can help nuclear-armed North Korea chart a new course following the death of its top leader Kim Jong-il, a leading daily said Wednesday, adding: "Pakistan`s own linkage with North Korea has exposed Islamabad to charges of nuclear proliferation."

Kim, who ruled North Korea with an iron hand, died Saturday during a train journey. His youngest son, Kim Jong-un, has succeeded him.

An editorial in the Dawn described Kim as "an enigmatic personality who drew attention to himself and his country in ways that often defied geopolitical logic".

It noted that Jong-il`s death Saturday was announced Monday and this shows "the totalitarian and dynastic system he inherited continues to maintain its chokehold on the country".

"Kim Jong-un is in his 20s and has no political experience, but is a general in the army and a member of the ruling Workers` Party of Korea. More importantly, he was educated in Switzerland and belongs to that generation of young reformers who, despite opposition from the old guard, gave North Korea the Internet and mobile phones (though to a very limited elite)," the editorial said.

The editorial added that the younger kim is "saddled with enough plutonium to build six to seven nuclear bombs and a stockpile of 1,000 missiles and 3,000 chemical weapons built at the cost of the country`s economic development, with perpetual food shortages a hard reality".

While China is keen to invest in North Korea, the editorial suggested the US should also tempt the new leader into pulling his country out of isolation.

"Pakistan`s own linkage with North Korea has exposed Islamabad to charges of nuclear proliferation. But with the help of a common neighbour, China, Pakistan can help North Korea chart a new course for itself to become a responsible member of the international community."

Bureau Report