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Greatest threat to North Korean regime

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By Chang Se-moon

The greatest threat to Kim Jong-un's hold on power may not be potential attacks by the mighty U.S. military, or subversion efforts by the scary Cheollima Civil Defense, now called Free Joseon, or even assassination attempts by security officers who betray him.

Kim can avoid attacks from the U.S. military through skillful negotiations regarding his nuclear weapons. Kim can avoid attacks from Cheollima agents by tightening his border security. Kim can also remain safe from betrayal by his security forces by killing anyone who remotely appears suspicious as he has done in the past.

The greatest threat is emerging market forces that may already be well beyond his iron-fisted control. Let me explain why.

On March 19, Kim Yong-ho made a very informative presentation on cell phone use and private transportation in North Korea at the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEIA) in Washington, D.C. The presentation was sponsored jointly by the KEIA and Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK). Below is a summary of Kim's presentation as I understood it.

Currently, there are two cell phone companies, providing services to over 4 million subscribers, representing no less than 20 percent of the total population. The use of cell phones is widely spread........

© The Korea Times