June 12, 2002 | permalink
The collapse of communist East Germany began, informally speaking, when thousands of East Germans sought asylum at the West German embassies in Budapest and Prague in 1989. That was the East German regime’s emperor-has-no-clothes moment, and five months later the Berlin Wall was opened. Is the same process underway for North Korea’s Stalinist regime? Probably not, but a stream of gate-crashings in Beijing, where North Koreans are finding their way past increased security to seek asylum at foreign embassies, is an intriguing development and not good news for “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-il. I was based in Seoul from 1987-1990 and heard, every week or two, a new theory about the imminent collapse of North Korea, so I’m not holding my breath, but at some point, hopefully soon, that prison/country will disappear.