The Operational Code of Kim Jong-Un: Seeking Effective Diplomacy
CitationKim, Eugene. 2018. The Operational Code of Kim Jong-Un: Seeking Effective Diplomacy. Master's thesis, Harvard Extension School.
AbstractKim Jong Un’s sudden ascent to power reflected the untimely departure of his predecessor, Kim Jong Il. For the people of North Korea as well as the rest of the world, his modus operandi has only slowly begun to reveal itself with time. While qualitative analyses based on his political movements exist, there is little to no quantitatively based literature that ties him to particular tendencies as a political actor. This thesis explores those tendencies and offers a comparatively useful operational code by analyzing six New Year’s speeches from 2013 to 2018. By building on a former study by Dr. Joseph Bond (1990) in which he gave operational codes to both Kim Jong Il and Kim Il Sung, this thesis utilizes his methodology of operational code analysis and develops a more cohesive picture of the enigmatic leader of North Korea, offering a comparative analysis of his tendencies as compared to that of his predecessors. Kim Jong-Un had a mere three before being thrust to the helm of the DPRK, which suggests that he is still trying to consolidate power. This thesis explores this intent with respects to his operational code, testing first for salience and consistency of his operational code, then provides a comparative assessment to the other two Kim’s. Comparative analysis reveals Kim Jong Un preferences in terms of a consolidation strategy to be largely antithetical to that of Kim Jong Il, investing in economic growth as opposed to his father’s ‘Military First’ strategy. Findings also suggest that he is far more similar to his grandfather, Kim Il Sung, in his approach to the political arena, which provides clues as to engagement strategies for future diplomacy.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365416