Kim Jong-un 'Dangerous and Unpredictable'

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was "dangerous, unpredictable and prone to violence" as a teenager, claims a former U.S. State Department official.

Kurt Campbell, a former assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, claims he reached the conclusion after interviewing almost every classmate of Kim's from his schooldays in Switzerland and people close to him.

Asked on a CNN talk show whether the execution of Jang Song-taek indicates "a real power struggle within North Korea," Campbell replied, "The fundamental truth is we really do not know."

He added, "I think we saw pretty clearly on, however, that [Kim] had unusual powers, and that people were looking to him in a way to play this role, and for a young, inexperienced leader prone to violence, he could be threatening."

"China normally had the ability to engage North Korea, and control its destiny somewhat. I think that process, that period has passed," Campbell said. "He is taking North Korea in a very dangerous direction, high tensions with Japan, with China, with South Korea, and the United States. They really stand alone on the global stage. They're well-armed, and I think increasingly will become desperate."

He described Jang as the senior official who "had the closest relationships in China. He, in many respects, was the person that the international community was counting on to provide some stable counsel" to Kim.

englishnews@chosun.com / Dec. 18, 2013 13:06 KST