North Korea is inevitably headed toward a collective leadership as Kim Jong-il's poor health will prevent him from resuming full control over state affairs. That is the analysis offered by influential North Korean expert Kang In-duk, a former unification minister under the Kim Dae-jung government and director of the Institute for East Asian Studies in Seoul. Kang believes Kim will gradually lose control and be unable to make a comeback.
Kim's one-man rule is expected to be naturally replaced by a collective leadership centered around the country's National Defense Commission, according to Kang.
Kang based his assessment on the fact that the five most powerful decision making-bodies in Pyongyang pledged allegiance to Kim Jong-il on the eve of nation's 60th foundation anniversary on Sept. 9. This is indicative of a future collective leadership structure.
The five bodies are the Central Committee and the Central Military Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea, the National Defense Commission, the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and the Cabinet.
Kang believes the new collective leadership, whether made up of hardliners or moderates, will be forced to pragmatically adopt economic reform measures to ensure the country's survival. The new leadership will follow the China model where the communist party holds power and markets are opened.