North Korea is unlikely to see a popular uprising while leader Kim Jong-il is alive, a security expert said Monday.
Ko Young-hwan, a former North Korean diplomat now working for South Korea's Institute for National Security and Strategy, told a seminar on Monday, "Chances are slim" that North Korea will see a public uprising so long as Kim is alive because unlike Middle Eastern countries it lacks the Internet and social networking infrastructure.
In principle North Korea has the potential for a revolution because of corruption, growing distrust of the regime after a botched currency reform and serious grievances due to food shortages, Ko said. He warned party-military conflict could evolve into a civil war if Kim suddenly dies.
While the North has much in common with the Middle Eastern countries now in turmoil like a corrupt leadership, poverty, repression, imprisonment of dissidents and a hereditary power succession, North Koreans have no access to the Internet and social networking sites that could coordinate protests, Ko said.