Nuclear test linked to succession

North Korea may be posturing after Kim Jong-Il's stroke

An underground explosion, on par with the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, rocked North Korea as the rogue nation tested a nuclear weapon today. However, what would have past been considered posturing for US attention and concessions, may now be linked to the question of who will replace North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il. Kim is believed to have suffered a stroke in August, leading to questions about his successor and a marked increase in North Korean aggressiveness. Kim’s youngest son, Kim Jong-un, will likely replace his father and carry the Kim leadership legacy into its third generation. Any transition will require the support of the north Korean military—and the nuclear test may have been an attempt to gain it. The blast was many times more powerful than previous tests, a possible indication that North Korea is also attempting to set up a strong nuclear deterrent. However, the test could simply have been aimed at showing North Koreans the power of the Kim dynasty. In any case, the detonation’s been condemned by other nations, including China, North Korea’s closest ally.

The New York Times

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