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ICG: Little change seen from Pyongyang

July 25, 2012 at 1:23 PM
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BRUSSELS, July 25 (UPI) -- North Korea under its new leader is stable but there are few signs to suggest the regime will make any major breaks from the past, a study said.

Kim Jong Un took control over North Korea after the December death of Kim Jong Il, his father. A string of appointments among members of the younger Kim's inner circle culminated with his designation as supreme leader of the country's military.

The International Crisis Group, in a 30-page report, said North Korea is "stable" and there are no signs of political opposition.

The report cautions, however, that the status quo isn't sustainable nor will it provide relief for North Korean citizens.

Pyongyang secured substantial food assistance from the U.S. government in exchange for a moratorium on long-range missile and nuclear tests early this year. The deal collapsed in April following the failed launch of a long-range rocket.

While Kim, believed to be 29, should remain in power "for decades" given his age, a failure to reform would lead to further regime isolation and rising costs in terms of human and food insecurity.

"Renouncing his grandfather's (Kim Il Sung) and father's legacies would not be rational if he wishes to remain in power," the report said.

Various media outlets reported Wednesday that Kim married Ri Sol Ju, a woman identified as a recent companion during several official functions.

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