Former United States Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill said the power transition in North Korea following the death of Kim Jong-il will depend how the military and Jang Sung-taek, the supposed guardian of heir-apparent Kim Jong-un, decide to act down the road.
[Interview : Christopher Hill, Former Assistant Secretary of State] "Well, we will have to see. I think he is probably not capable of making independent decisions at this point. I don't think Jang Sung-taek who is both a mentor and perhaps a rival at the same time. I don't think Jang Sung-taek will want him to be making these kinds of independent decisions. I think the military is going to be looking very closely at this guy."
Hill, who served as US Ambassador to South Korea from 2004 to 2005, also commented on the six-party denuclearization talks, which have been stalled since 2009.
[Interview : Christopher Hill, Former Assistant Secretary of State] "Well I think that Washington is in kind of a wait and see mode. They certainly don't want to be unduly negative about the prospects of the six-party talks, because Washington has been supporting the re-starting of those, provided that they can be restarted on the basis of really making progress. So I don't think Washington wants to be unduly negative."
Parsing his words carefully, Hill said Seoul and Washington should maintain close consultations moving forward as the two countries try to search for the best way to manage the post-Kim Jong-il era.
Kang Seok-ho, Arirang News.