Kim Jong Il, N. Korean dictator, dies at 69

The Philippines and the Korean Peninsula

Philippines' General Carlos Romulo, who was the president of the UN General Assembly when the Korean War broke out in 1950, staunchly advocated the international defense of South Korea. "The application of military sanctions in Korea is in itself an act of the greatest significance," he said before the Assembly on 25 September 1950, reflecting on the decision of the Security Council to take military action in the peninsula and on the need to strengthen collective action against acts of aggression.

"The Philippine Government, for its part, has given concrete proof of its support of the principle of collective security by sending troops to help the UN forces in Korea," he added, referring to the first of five battalion combat teams from the Philippine Expeditionary Force to Korea (PEFTOK), which rushed to Busan only six days earlier on 19 September 1950.

The relations between the Philippines and South Korea have always been characterized by such mutual trust and support. Bilateral relations between the two countries started on 3 March 1949 when the Philippines became the fifth country to recognize South Korea.

The Philippines sent 7,420 soldiers to South Korea over a five-year period, among them former President Fidel Ramos and two former ambassadors to South Korea. After the Korean War, the Philippines is still one of the richest and most powerful in Asia next to Japan helped to rebuild South Korea by constructing infrastructure project

The Philippines advocate democracy together with America.

During the most corrupt Marcos dictatorship, the Philippines becomes a sick-man in Asia and become poor economically with rich of untapped resources as corruption become a culture.

The death of North Korean Leader is now the issue as question would rise, what would be the next role of the Philippines in reuniting Korea as the Philippines is rising again its power and economy in Asia in the Aquino III administration?

The Death of Kim Jong IL – the toughest North Korean Communist Leader

North Korea will move into a shadowy period of effective control by its army generals and would-be dynastic regents after the death of its dictator Kim Jong-il, possibly making it less adventurous.

His nominated heir is 27-year-old younger son Kim Jong-un, who has had barely two years to prepare for the succession.

By contrast, the ''Dear Leader'' Kim Jong-il - who died on Saturday aged 69 - had a lifetime of preparation for leadership in the Stalinist system created by his father, the ''Great Leader'' Kim Il-sung, and a decade as nominated successor before the father died in 1994.

An array of grim-faced, medal-bedecked Korean People's Army generals may look more to Kim Jong-il's brother-in-law Jang Song-taek, who in 2010 was appointed vice-chairman of the powerful National Defense Commission, the effective No. 2 post in North Korea.

This occurred about the same time as Kim Jong-un was declared the ''Bright Leader'' to succeed, after Kim Jong-il suffered a devastating stroke that left him greatly weakened and shrunken in stature, and pointed Jang out as the effective political regent in the ruling dynasty. Kim Jong-il was an even bolder gambler than his father, who launched a strike across the 38th Parallel in 1950, thereby starting the Korean War, when the United States seemed to be losing interest in the southern half of the peninsula.

The junior Kim assumed charge of North Korea's clandestine activities, which included the kidnapping of Japanese citizens to help train its agents, bombings and sabotage of South Korean targets, and the shadowy Room 39 of the Korean Workers Party (the communist party), which raised hard currency from counterfeiting US currency and from trafficking of amphetamine.

Kim Jong-il was also a driver of the secret nuclear weapons program, which continued with secret help from Pakistan's A.Q. Khan Network after a 1994 agreement with the Clinton administration supposedly froze all developments.

Mass starvation among the North Korean population, after the collapse of the Soviet Union ended critical external aid and floods ruined successive crops, did not divert Kim from his cultivation of the Korean People's Army, under his ''Songun'' (army first) doctrine.

Kim's role as chairman of the National Defense Commission, commanding the army, became more important than the general-secretary role in the Worker's Party. Frequent on-the-spot ''guidance sessions'' and sharing of meals with frontline soldiers were aimed at reinforcing personal loyalty among the soldiers.

The sybaritic personal lifestyle of his younger days — which included  importing Italian and Japanese chefs and the foodstuffs they needed, French wine and brandy, Scandinavian models for company, and a massive library of the foreign films denied his people — was pushed firmly into the background.

A vast Gulag of labor and punishment camps, picked out by Western satellite images, limited internal communications and isolation of the favored elite in Pyongyang kept the starving population under control until mobile phones and visits from China began to penetrate in recent years.

The drive for nuclear weapons and testing of the Taepodong ballistic missile stepped up after the election of President George W. Bush, who listed North Korea as part of an ''axis of evil'' with other ''rogue'' regimes and declared his ''visceral hatred'' of Kim.

When Bush emissary James Kelly confronted the North Koreans in late 2002, Kim responded by withdrawing his country from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The past decade has seen Pyongyang engage in on-off negotiations about disarmament at the Beijing Six-Party Talks while advancing weapon and missile tests.

North Korea will now go into a paroxysm of grief that may continue until the 100th anniversary of of Kim Il-sung's birth in April.

Everyone will be watching sideways to see who might emerge as North Korea's Khrushchev or Gorbachev.

The People's Army will have its work cut out watching both the Demilitarized Zone and trying to stop a mass breakout into China.

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