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This is PM Agenda.

Welcome to the program. One

of world's most brutal

bizarre and belligerent

leaders has died. North

Korean dick titer Kim Jong-il

die -- dictator Kim Jong-il died on Saturday. The news

wan announced in an emotional

declaration on North Korean

state run media today. I'm

announcing in the most woeful

mind that our great leader

Kim Jong-il passed away due

to sudden illness on

to sudden illness on his way

to a field guidance on

December 12 inspection 2011.

Well, the news has sparked

uncertainty about what comes

next in North Korea. Does Kim

Jong-il's son, Kim Jong-un,

continue the family's

succession and take over the

leadership or will the

military try to seize power

and will there be friction

between the two. We will be

assessing this and analysing

it throughout

it throughout this program.

But at the moment we do have

reaction across the region

also looking somewhat

uncertain. South Korea, which

of course shares a very

difficult and dangerous

border with North Korea, the

two countries are still formally at war, South Korea has announced its military

has been put on emergency

footing, Japan has also

convened an emergency

security council meeting, we have also just received a

statement from the US, from

the White House as well

saying the President has been notified, we are in close touch with our allies in

South Korea and Japan, we

remain committed to stability

on the Korean Peninsula and

the freedom and security of

allies. Australia's Foreign

Minister Kevin Rudd this

afternoon also expressed the uncertainty Australia shares

about what's going to happen

next but did express concern

that at least there remained open communication between

all players involved. All

governments, including the

government of North Korea,

should at this time be

exercising maximum calm and

restraint, both in terms of

what they do and in their

diplomatic signalling. But it

is at times like this where

we cannot afford to have any

signalling. wrong or ambiguous

signalling. Second, this time

also presents an important

opportunity for the new North

Korean leadership to engage

fully with the international

community. On how to improve their economy in order to

properly feed their people,

and critically on how to deal

with the outstanding problem of North Korea's nuclear

weapons program. Well,

Kevin Rudd also said he had

been speaking with the acting

Prime Minister Wayne Swan,

and that he had also spoken

with our ambassador in South

Korea about this situation.

He did express some desire

there as we heard that there

be open communication but

also that North Korea take this opportunity to engage with the international

community, and that it also

deal with its nuclear weapons

program. This has been a big

concern for the region for

the US, for South Korea,

Japan and Australia and

certainly more pressure now

on China to do its bit to

ensure there is a peaceful outcome and peaceful

transition there. The only

country that really has much influence in North Korea is

of course China and this

death of Kim Jong-il and what

happens now will be closely

assessed across the region.

To tell us more about Kim

Jong-il, the man, and his leadership, and what will likely happen now in North

Korea, I spoke a little

earlier to Rod Lyon from the Australian Strategic is

policy Institution who has

been writing a comprehensive

analysis of the country. If we can start with Kim Jong-il before we get to what happens

now, and there is a bit of

uncertainty about that but

Kim Jong-il we hear a lot

about the various quirks this

man, his love for the

luxuries but also the extreme

poverty he oversaw. Tell us a

bit about Kim Jong-il. Well,

when when he first came to

power in 1994 he was seen

very much in the first model

you describe, the character

who was the seeker after fast

car, fast women, fine Cognac

car, fast women, fine Cognac

and abducting Japanese actors

off the beach in order to make movies he wanted to

make. Tell us about that for

those who aren't aware of this. Literally abducted

Japanese actors off the beach

in Japan and took them to

North Korea for movies he

wanted to make. Bizarre. A

strange personality and a

strange character. Someone

who believed very much that

he could shape the world to

what he wanted it to be. And

he presided over a

totalitarian regime, that

during times of great famine

in North Korea, past pain

down the line to the lowest

strata of society. Kim

Jong-il is now gone, he died

on Saturday. It's taken them

a couple of days to make the

normal announcement so

clearly there has been some

man evering going on in the

last couple of -- man

observings going on in the

last couple of day s do

youexpect his son Kim Jong-un

to take over and tell us a

bit Kim Jong-un, he is the

third son of Kim Jong-il? On,

let me start with the

Jong-il I think understood a succession first because Kim

few years ago that he only

had a limited lifespan

available to him. He has had

health problems for a while.

There have certainly been

stroke s in his past and

rumours say he had pan cry

attic cancer. What we have

seen unfold over the last two

years in particular in North

Korea is an attempt by the

Kim family to secure the hold

of the regime over North

Korean society. Now, they

have only a relatively small

number of choices to do that.

Kim Jong-il could have passed

to another member of the

family who was Kim Jong-un's

uncle. There is a powerful

aunt there as well. Are they

Kim Jong-il's own

siblings? One of them is. I

am not sure which one is it

is off the top of my head and they are, the aunt for

example has been promoted up

to a four star general. The

same as Kim Jong-un? The same

as Kim Jong-un as a way of

giving Kim Jong-un a

regionent who would help him

establish his own regime and

help him establish his

credentials with the

military. So there has been

efforts to put the younger

Kim Jong-un into powerful

positions both with the Army

and with the party. There

were two elder sons who were

passed over, the first was a

son who tried using a forged

diplomatic passport to gain

entry to Japan to go to Disneyland, the second

was... That was too much of

an embarrassment It was too

embarrassing. He was also the

son of one of the earlier

wives and the wives had died.

So there is - Kim Jong-il's

history there is is a

succession of wives and

mistresses which again

confounds a little bit of the

succession story. The second

son, no-one ever knew much

about. So and again he was

quite easily passed over but

the one they have gone to is

still very young He is not

yet 30 is he? Yes. He is

western educated though. Tell

us about that. He was

educated in Switzerland I

think, and there are various

reports about that education.

But, how much that education

has actually shaped him we

don't know. We know very

little about this character.

We know almost nothing about

the sort of policies that he

will enact once in power. So

I think there are two big

hurdles in front of us. The

first is the one you went to

a moment ago which is

succession. Does the

succession hold? Now had Kim

Jong-il lasted another year I would have given that almost

about a 100% tick. It would

have allowed a bit more time

to establish the authority of

Kim Jong-un? Yes, for him to

get his feet under the table

and at the moment you can

only give it about an 80%

tick. Right. So what's the

threat to it? The threat to

it is the family is not

united and that the military

does not want to take directions from two four star generals, neither of whom

have ever served in the

military. So there is a

threat from the military. I

think there is a threat perhaps from within the

family itself as the family

fully lock down on the third

son and we don't know enough

to know that they are. So I

think what we are looking at

is does, in the coming few

months what we are looking at

is does the succession hold.

What's the possibility or

what's the prospect here of

an actual military coup

taking place? If Kim Jong-un

does lay claim to the leadership, and we see that

happen over the coming

months, is there a chance the

military, if they are not

happy with that will actually

stage a coup and we could

see... There is a chance, We

could see Communist Party

rule come to an end? Yes,

over the last few years there

have been a number of North

Korean analysts who say the

real future of North Korea is

not as a North Korean

communist state it is as a

burr junta and what you have

really seen with the

empowering of the military

policy and ability to command resources and reach out and

shape policy is the military

exercises a steadily greater

influence on policy making. It's hypothetical but would that be a better thing

for North Korea? Would a

junta be better than an

authoritiaran regime? I

think we are comparing very

low steps on the political

ladder here, David. Now, all

of this is being watch ed

intensely by the region,

South Korea has gone on to an

emergency footing at the

moment, and Japan has called

a National Security Committee

meeting. Australia will

obviously be watching this

very closely as well. How

much of an external threat is

there at the moment? How

much of an external threat to

whom? To South Korea or

Japan in particular? I think

the reason people are watching closely is not

because we are expect the

north to strike out. It is

because events within North

Korea could have unsettling

ramifications. If there is a contested succession it means

there is a struggle over

things like who controls

North Korea's plutonium. It

is now just over who controls

North Korea's army, it is who controls his materials. Just

on that at the moment, who

does have their finger on the

button. You would have to say

now that Kim Jong-il has

died, that the finger on the button probably belongs to

Kim Jong-un. Is that a

frightening prospect? We

just don't know? . We don't

know enough about Kim Jong-un

to know what sort of

character is and what sort of

pillars of his own policy

thinking are. He's still

someone who has been promoted

rapidly, over the past two

years in order to try to lock

in the succession and lock in

the regime stability and sur vooil but there haven't

vooil but there haven't been,

- survival but there hasn't

been much unfolding of policy

going along with that. This

is what South Korea and Japan

will be desperate ly trying to work out at the

moment. Yes. What about

Australia, the Korean

peninsula is always a flash

point when we look at

regional politic, what about

Australia for more certainty

about this? I think Australia

like other regional countries

will want to see a measure of regional stability continue

on the peninsula, it is not

the ideal outcome. Ideally we

want to see an evolution

towards a more libertarian or

democratic political system

but I don't think that's

going to happen. From here,

is it best for China and the

rest of the region and the

world to simply let things play out in North Korea

however they are going to

play out, and then start to

engage in a new process? I

think people will want to see

it unfold but I think they

will be exercising what

leverage - limited leverage

they have in Pyongyang, in

favour of stable transition,

a new regime that has a

steady hand on the tiller,

policies that are non-inflammatory, and

something that gives a more

measured sense of North

Korea's continuation. Rod Lyon from the Australian

strategic policy institute

appreciate your analysis on

this momentous day. Thank

you. Thank you David. Coming

up we will be crossing live

to the shadow Foreign

Minister injuriop, we will

also be talking on --

injuriop we will also be

talking -- Julie Bishop. We

will be talking about the

boat sinking off Java carrying about 250 asylum seekers heading to Australia.

We will be talking to the

Immigration Minister Chris Bowen. Stay with us.

Welcome back. We will

shortly be talking to the shadow Foreign Minister Julie

Bishop about the death of Kim Jong-il, what it means for

the region and what it means

for Australia. First though

to the tragic news over the

weekend of another boat

heading to Australia carrying

asylum seekers going down and

now, well, looks like more

than 200 feared dead. 250

passengers are believed to be

on this boat, when it sank on

Saturday, off the coast of

Java. But now we know only 33

survives have so far been

found. They have been taken

back to the mainland there

and here is what some of them

had to say about the time when the boat went down over

the weekend. Due to heavy

overload passengers and also

with heavy waves in the water

so our boat sank. We were

about 250 passengers on from

Pakistan and some from Saudi Arabia. We were supposed to

go from Indonesia from

Jakarta to Australia. The

asylum seekers were from

Iran, Afghanistan, and Saudi

Arabia. They were trying to

make it to Australia. We have

seen an increased number of

boats attempting to make this

journey and many of them successfully so, since the

government's plans to

establish offshore processing

in Malaysia fell over.

Joining you now is the

Immigration Minister, Chris

Bowen, thanks your time. Can

I ask you what is the latest

information you have on the

search operation. Well the

search operations ongoing

David as you said. We are

advised by the Indonesian

authorities 33 people have

been rescued. The weather

conditions are very severe,

it is not just Indonesian

authorities being involved in

the rescue but also local fishermen and other locals

being involved. We have

dispatched a PC 3 o Ryan and

dash air plan and HMAS

Arrarat I am advised will

make the site later this

evening eastern standard time

and they will participate in

the search and rescue efforts in full cooperation and coordination with the

Indonesian authorities. That

will mean therefore there are

about 215 or 220 people

unaccounted for, 48 hours

since the boat went down. The

hopes can't be great for their survival. Well of

course David, we will

probably never know exactly

how many people were on this

boat. When we have seen these tragedies in the past you are

able to reach an estimate but

tragically the reality is

there will be people who are

never found in all likelihood

and will never have a certain

number obviously with each

passing hour, the chances of

finding survivors falls. But

I know that the Australian

authorities, the Indonesian

authorities, Basanas and the

other Indonesian authorities involved won't stop looking

until they can be confident

for want of a better word

there is no point going on in

the search efforts. In terms

of the death toll, this does

however look like being an

even worse tragedy than the

Christmas Island disaster of

almost exactly a year ago. What went through your mind when you heard this news?

Well, again, David, just

utter devastation that this

happened again. This had been obviously what the government

had been concerned about,

what we have been warning

about and very concerned

about that is not a political

statement I'm not making any

political points today.

Simply saying we have been concerned about

concerned about danger of

life on the high seas and

obviously this is a terrible,

terrible day, terrible

tragedy and something that all Australians would be

deeply distressed about. I

know you don't want to make

political points, nonetheless

we do have a political deadlock over offshore

processing in Australia, both the Coalition and Labor

support it but can't reach

agreement on where it should

happen. Have you spoken to

the Opposition, to your

counterpart Scott Morrison in

the wake of this latest

tragedy? Well David, I have a

habit of briefing the

Opposition whenever there is

a significant event such as

this and I have done so. I do

talk to Scott Morrison from

time to time, and brief him

and talk about various

events. Our position remains

the same as I have publicly outlined, we believe in offshore processing, and we

want to work with the

Opposition to see offshore processing implemented but,

David, you won't find me

today making any criticism of

the Opposition, or making any

political points today. There

are people in the water

waiting to be found and my focus, Jason Clare's focus

and the government's focus is

on that effort I can

appreciate that but I think Australians look at this

awful tragedy and wonder how

can this political deadlock be broken and can't believe

that it hasn't been. Are you

able to indicate at all

whether this is going to

prompt some movement from at least the government's side?

Well David, we believe that

in order to have a proper

deterrent to stop people

risking their lives at sea,

then you need to have a properly constructed regional offshore processing arrangement. We believe we

have one in place, ready to

go, waiting for the approval of the parliament. It has

been the focus of my 12 months as Immigration

Minister to put it together, the agreement that we have

put in place, and I will

continue to progress that and

to do whatever is necessary

to see it implemented in a proper sustained reasonable

way. But, David, I really

don't want to get into a political debate today, I am

not going to make any political statements about

the Opposition or anybody

else, our position is

well-known, it's clear, I am

not backwards in coming

forwards and making that position well-known, I have

done so on your program many

times but our position is clear, our rationale is

clear, it has not been,

haven't pursued offshore

processing for fun or because

it was good for us politically, its neither of

those things. We have done it because we believed it to be

the right thing to do and we

will continue in the appropriate time and appropriate wait to prosecute

that case. Why not at least

try Nauru, the Coalition's

preferred option. As you reportedly argued within

cabinet? Well, David, in cabinet, outside cabinet, I have obviously I don't

comment on cabinet meets but

every where internally and

externally I have argued that Nauru in and of itself by

itself is not a solution. The

majority... As part of a mix

with Malaysia? Well, look,

our position is that we need

the Malaysia agreement

implemented, and an offshore

processing centre elsewhere

in PNG would be a useful come

plimment to that, that

remains our position to that,

the Opposition's position

remains they believe in Nauru

but our position remains that

an offshore processing,

whenever it s and offshore processing centre whenever it s just by itself doesn't

provide the deterrent

necessary because you do find

the majority of people being processed as refugees will

end up in Australia and it

won't provide the necessary deterrent. Again. I will be

making those points David, I

will be making those points

at the appropriate time and

in the appropriate way, I am

happy to answer your

questions but you won't find

me criticising Liberal Party policy or Liberal Party

individuals today. Let me

ask you then within Labor has that cabinet disagreement

broken down relations between

you and the Prime Minister? Some have suggested that there has been increased

tension, that you are now in

the Rudd camp for want of a better word, can you comment

on that at all? No, David,

not at all. Not at all. And I

have worked with every ounce

of energy that I can muster

for Prime Minister Gillard

and I continue to do so. We

talk very regularly about all these issues, and I continue

to work with her very, very

closely and... Is she the

best person for the job? Yes. That's emphatic. Can I ask

you then about back on this

boat, it had a capacity for

only 100 passengers and yet

250 were crowded on board.

Are people smugglers taking

even bigger risk now in the

rush to get asylum seekers to Australia, is this part of a

trend for bigger numbers on

each boat? I have made this

point before David, there is

nothing ul truistic about

these people smugglers they

are not some type of modern

day Oscar Schindler, they are

making profit out of misery

and if they can make more

profit out of cramming people on to dangerous boats then they will and they are doing

that. We have said we can

expect people muggling

activity to increase if we don't have offshore processing in place and it

has increased, it has

increased in intensity, we

have seen more arrivals and

we are seeing as you

correctly point out, people

smugglers having no regard

for human life whatsoever and

putting more people on to

dangerous boats. And that

under lines why we have

worked so hard, so hard, to

get offshore processing up.

It haenl been easy, wasn't

easy for me to argue to the Labor Party national

conference we should put

offshore processing into our

platform. Didn't do it for

fun, didn't do it to be

popular, did it because its

the right thing to do because

I believe there is nothing humanitarian about a policy

which says to people that the

best way of a new life in

Australia is to risk your

life to get here. There is nothing humanitarian about

that at all, and I will

continue to argue that. Internally in the Labor

Party, a debate we have had,

and the government won on the

floor of national conference emphatically and I will

continue to argue that

externally as well. Chris

Bowen a final question on a

separate matter, a NSW core

nor today issued a pretty damming report about the

death, the suicide deaths of

three men at the vilawood

detention centre last year.

It talks about systemic, the

coroner talks about systemic

failings by the department

and by Sirco the company that

runs the centre and has rejected claims that it can't

make recommendations to you.

Its made recommendations to

overhall procedures about how asylum seekers who fail in

their applications are

removed from the country,

talks about better training

of officers, will you be

adopting these

recommendations? Well this is, these are recommendations that the coroner has brought

down today. I have obviously

been made aware of them. I

have not had the opportunity

to fully read them and to

fully be briefed on them.

Obviously I will be paying

them very close attention and

I will be asking my

department to look very

seriously at them and I will

be looking very seriously at

them. I need to go through

them in some detail and show

them the due respect they

deserve and that doesn't mean

providing a running

commentary on them today. I

note they made no specific allegations or findings

against the individuals, they

did make recommendations

about systemic issues,

obviously I want our

management of what are very

complex and difficult

arrangements. These were in

one particular case in

particularly in relation to a

removal. Removing somebody

from Australia, which is

always fraught. Difficult

and emotional and the

difficulty of removing someone from Australia who doesn't want to be removed.

We do it on a very regular

basisers there are lots of removal from Australia every

day but I want to ensure our procedures are best practice

and so I will be paying very serious regard to the coroner's recommendations. Immigration Minister Chris Bowen thank you for joining

us. Thank you, David. I want

to go straight to the shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

now, she's joining us from

Perth. Thank you for your

time and I know you have been

listening in there. Can I pick up before we get to Kim

Jong-il's death, just on this

boat tragedy, I put it to

Chris Bowen and can I put it

to you know is it likely to

break this deadlock or see

any movement from the two

sides of politics in trying

to set up an off shore

processing regime? David it

is a tragic situation that is

unfolding and given that its

about 12 months to the day

since the last tragic boat

event, as people try to make

their way to Australia, it is

time for the government to

acknowledge that its

abandonment of offshore

processing and now having an

onshore processing policy

means that there are pull

factors at play, the people

smugglers have been

emboldened. It is time for

the Prime Minister to swallow

her pride and to reinstate

the policies that have been

proven to work. And that is

offshore processing on Nauru,

temporary protection visas,

and a policy of turning the

boats back, working with the Indonesians where it is safe

to do so. But, is the Coalition prepared to at least come part of the way

and look at a combination of offshore processing that

satisfies both sides here?

Malaysia and Nauru? David,

there is one set of policies

that has been proven to work

and I do not understand why

the Prime Minister will not

reinstate the policies that

have been proven to work and

that was offshore processing

on naur rur which is a signatory to the -- Nauru

which is a signatory to the

UN convention on refugees, temporary protection visas

and a policy of turning back

the boat s. And I urge the

Prime Minister to reembrace

those policies. Let's turn

now to the death of Kim

Jong-il. We heard the

Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd

earlier point out that there

will be uncertainty about an ambiguity about what happens

next. How concerned or

otherwise are you about this

situation now? Well David,

the death of Kim Jong-il

should provide North Korea

with a rare opportunity to

become a more enlightened nation to show more

compassion to its 24 million

citizens, to embrace a more

open system of government.

And to give greater freedom

to its people. A few people

around the world will few

people around the world will genuinely regret the passing

of Kim Jong-il who is one of

the most notorious dictators

and has used the threat of

nuclear weapons to remain in

power and to terrorise

neighbours countries. There

will inevitably be a period

of instability as they

transition to a new leader.

Hopefully a more enlightened

leader. But the designated

successor, Kim Jong-un, is

relatively unknown, he is a

relatively young man so we

understand, in his late 20s,

he was educated in Switzerland at an international school but

other than that there is very

little known about him.

Apparently there is only one

known photograph of him. So

there is a lot of doubt about

what will occur during this

transition period. We in Australia of course are

committed to stability on the

Korean peninsula and just

hope that North Korea uses

this historic opportunity to

become a more responsible

global citizen. The six

party talks have essentially

collapsed. China is seen as

the only country with real

influence in North Korea, do

you think Beijing has done

enough to improve the situation in North Korea and

to deal with those with its

nuclear weapons program and

what sort of message should be deliver the to China at

the moment? I don't believe

it has been easy for China

because North Korea has been

very ir responsible global

citizen. It has reportedly

developed and put put in

place nuclear weapons, it has

apparently tested nuclear

weapons and long range

missiles which have the capability of carrying such

weapons. We have had a number

of incidents in recent times,

including the attack on a

South Korean navy ship, that

has caused great concern. Its

deeply troubling. I know that

the US will be wanting to

re-engage with China and the

other parties to the six

party talks and its crucial

that we seek to do it at this

time and I have no doubt that

China will also see the

opportunity that the death of

Kim Jong-il presents to try

and bring North Korea back to

the negotiating table and try

and engage with North Korea.

Its time for a new era. The

24 million citizens of North

Korea have suffered long

enough under Kim Jong-il, and

his father before him. The Korean Peninsula has been

unstable for long enough and

we hope that this opportunity

will be embraced by all of

the relevant countries

involved. Is there - this

point is sometimes made when

we look at military

interventions in places like

Libya and elsewhere, are

there grounds given that the

xrord extraordinary famine,

the isolation, the brutal

nature of the dictatorship

there, are there grounds for

some form of military intervention in North Korea?

Also the fact that it has

been able to develop this

nuclear weapons

program? David, that would be

an extremely radical and

dangerous step. What I

believe we need to do is take

the opportunity to bring

North Korea to the

negotiating table. There will

be this period of transition

and if the reports are

correct Kim Jong-un, the designated successor, is not

very experienced. There was

to be a managed transition in

2012 but the death of Kim

Jong-il has meant that that

managed transition cannot

occur now. There are reports

that one of his uncles, Kim

Jong-un's uncles will in fact

be ruling behind the scene s

as Kim Jong-un essentially

learns on the job. Now, what

that means in terms of the

military and how they will

respond is yet to be seen.

But I think what the world

needs to do is send a message

that we would be ready to

work with North Korea to help

it engage with the rest of

the world and become a more responsible global citizen.

Now that must mean abandoning

its nuclear weapons program

and the development of nuclear weapons and its also

been reported that North

Korea has been proliferation rating nuclear technology to

other countries, other

regimes, including Iran. We

really must seize this

historic opportunity and see

what we can achieve. Just on

that, if it is exporting

nuclear material to Iran,

surely there is a case for

tighter sanctions, patrolling

to stop that happening? You

mentaled earlier that China

-- mentioned earlier that

China has influence this this

regard, I believe that to be

the case, although I do point

out that its not easy for

China. I don't believe it is

easy for any country to deal

with such a mysterious and repressive regime as North

Korea but we can only hope

that China will be able to

use whatever influence it has

to engage with North Korea so

that we can see more

enlightened regime. As I

said, to provide greater

freedom to its people, and to

show them the compassion that

has been lacking over the

last few decades. What about

the US in all of this. We

have only had a brief statement from the White

House that essentially the

President is aware and the

White House is monitoring the

situation. We have seen in

the recent visit from

President Obama a clear pivot

from the US or intention to

pivot more into the

Asia-Pacific region, is that

and should that be part of

monitoring and keeping some

pressure on North Korea?

Without doubt. The US

engagement in the Asia-Pacific is essential and

I believe that the US will

seek to work with China to

deal with North Korea at this

time. Its a case of not just

one country having to be

involved but the US and also

China as well as Japan, South

Korea, will all have to be

involved in seeking to

embrace North Korea. It is an

opportunity, as I have said a

couple of times in this

interview, it is an

opportunity for the rest of

the world to seek to embrace

North Korea if possible. If

the successor, Kim Jong-un,

is as inexperienced as we

understand him to be, maybe

this is the breakthrough that

we have been looking for.

Now, I know Japan will be

deeply troubled by any period

of instability, Japan has a

number of issues with North

Korea going back many, many Korea going back many, many

decades. The most sensitive

issue in Japan relating to

North Korea involves the

abduction of some Japanese

nationals many years ago. And

that has never been resolved.

In the case of South Korea

they live in the shadow of

North Korea's repressive

regime. So both countries

will be very concerned about

the transition to a new

leadership. That's why we

need the US and China to work

with them to see if we can

start a new page in the

history of the Korean

Peninsula. It does sound like

you are taking a glass half

full approach here as a new

opportunity as you call it.

Therefore, what do you think

of Australia's role in this?

Are are Are we a bit player,

can we have any influence in

trying to get that engagement

that we talk about? We are

allies with the US, we are

very close friends and

trading partners with China

and Japan and South Korea are

some of hour closest and strongest allies in the

region. So of course

Australia can provide

whatever support is needed. I

know it sounds like a glass

half full, but I think we

have to take that attitude at

this stage until we see

differently. I am not naive

about t there are some

reports that Kim Jong-un is

just like his father. If that

is the case then that does

not bode well for changed

sishgtsz on the Korean --

circumstances on the Korean

Peninsula. But let's hope

this does represent an

opportunity for change, a

changed regime, a changed

attitude. And in the case of

the nuclear weapons program,

hopefully we will be able to

work with China, the US, and

the other parties to the six-party talks to encourage

North Korea to abandon its

nuclear weapons program. And

not use nuclear weaponers to

terrorise its neighbours as it has certainly done in the

past. Has, we heard Kevin Rudd's comments a little

earlier, urging open communication between all of

these various players, and

that there not be any wrong signalling, diplomatic signalling between the

countries. Has that been the appropriate response so

far? I think that's

absolutely right. We must

have open communication, it

is a very difficult period.

We want to be able to seize

the opportunity if there are

any positive outcomes that

will flow from this we

wouldn't want there to be any

diplomatic missteps. So its a

very sensitive time and I am

sure that the White House is

working very hard behind the

scenes to get it right. I

have read the short statement

from the White House and no

doubt the diplomatic channels are working overtime

at this point. The funeral of

Kim Jong-il is reportedly at

the end of December, so we

will be watching very closely along with the rest of the

world to see how this

transition to a new

leadership plays out. And

just hope that it will be a

more enlightened leadership

in North Korea. Its way

beyond time for that to

occur. Shadow Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

appreciate your analysis and

comments on this. Thank you

for joining us. Thank you,

David. We will take a break

and back with more. Stay with us.

Welcome back. Well the

news of Kim Jong-il's death

confirmed today in North Korea has seen reaction

around the world. We have reaction from the Opposition Leader now Tony Abbott saying

the world will not mourn the passing of North Korean

dictator Kim Jong-il, he says under his rule North Korea

became one of the the world's

most dangerous regimes

developed an inlegal nuclear

weapons prog -- program and launched unprovoked attacks

on South Korea. We can only hope North Korea with

experience a democratic

spring like so many other

dictatorship, from more on

this I spoke to the foreign

editor of 'The Australian'

newspaper Greg Sheridan who

has spent quite a bit of time

in South Korea and spoken to

a number of defectors from

the north. David, really, he

was the most perverse and

weird dictator that the human

race has thrown up in many

century, North Korea is best

seen as a kind of quasi

religious state with a religious cult around the Kim

family. Now in the past

periods of instability have

often seen it lash out, with

military provocations at South Korea so I think we

have already seen the South

Korean military go on high

alert. Its very unclear

whether the power transfer

will occur as intended to his

psychopathic son, Kim

Jong-un, I would think its

more likely that a group of

generals will take effective

power in the mean time. Now generally that would encourage you because the

military is a bit more

rational than the Kim family,

but on the other hand most of

these generals are relatives

of the Kim family and their

traditional way of showing

how indispensable they are

and also to show everyone

they are still a mean dog on

the patch is to lash out with

military provocation. So on

the upside I guess there is

an outside chance that the

outside world can entice them

with some kind of grand

bargain at this moment but it

is a very deeply uncertain

period. Let me pick up on

something you said there of

runner, third son of Kim

Jong-il who -- of Kim Jong-un

the third son of Kim Jong-il

who was propping up to take

over the leadership. We call him psychopathic, we don't

know about this young man, he

is not yet 30, what makes you

use that word and I know you

have spoken to some defectors from North Korea. What do you

know about this guy? Well,

the all three generations of

Kim family were very sadistic

and bizarre human beings. Kim

Il-sung, the father, who set

up the most stall innist

system in the world, Kim

Jong-il, whose pen shan't for

kidnapping Japanese movie

stars, for bizarre personal

behaviour, was only matched

by the fact he starved to

death something like a third

of his population. Now the

young guy, I have spoken to a

lot of American intelligence

people who have worked very

hard on the young guy, he was

educated partly in Europe,

they spoke to all of his

classmates. He also has a

very savage temper and

behaves like a potentate son

metes out horrible

punishments to people who

cross him. And the military provocations that North Korea

engaged in it a couple of

years ago were seen very much

by American intelligence any

way as Kim Jong-un showing to

daddy that he was made of the

right stuff. So that's things

like the sinking of the South

Korean naval vessel, the Cho

Nam with 46 South Korean

sailors killed. The

unprovoked shelling of South

Korean villagers that the

North Korea military engaged

in a while ago. This was seen

very much as Kim Jong-un in

alliance with the military

showing that he was made of

the right stuff to continue

the family traditions. So

how likely do you see it that

he will assume the leadership

and you talked there about

other military generals, perhaps being in charge at

least for a while. Will there

be friction between these

senior generals and the heir

apparent? There is a very

strong possibility of that,

although that's what Kim

Jong-il has been working hard Jong-il has been working hard

to avoid. Its a very opaque

system David, but let me give

you my best guess. My best

guess is that the military

needs the continuing

connection with the Kim

family for its legitimacy and therefore Kim Jong-un will

have some kind of

legitimising role simply because he's daddy's son.

But that the effective

power, of at least for the

moment, will fall in the

hands of a group of generals.

But these generals themselves

are fully implicated in the

Kim Jong-il regime and many

of them in fact are relatives

of the late Kim Jong-il,

brother-in-laws and cousins

and nephews and so forth. The

only way I would see the

system cracking open would be

if the Chinese applied

pressure. I think they are

unlikely to do that because I

think the status quo suit s

China very well. But the risk

of internal instability is

very strong and its a bit unclear whether the

neighbours want instability or stability. South Korea,

Japan, the US, would like a more reasonable North Korea,

but they are also scared that

the whole place may just collapse and explode and we

always have to remember that

it probably has about 10

nuclear weapons and is

extremely paranoid and has a very shaky grasp on reality.

I want to ask you about that

in just a moment. The security threat and the

nuclear threat. But what

about China? I mean, you say

that the status quo probably

suits Beijing but its hardly

a stable situation and

extraordinary famine there in

North Korea, and this

uncertainty about the

leadership and about its

nuclear capability. Is this

really a comfortable

situation for China? Well,

you are right David that

China doesn't generally like

instability, but it has

actually been relatively

stable. Its been a stable

state since it was established and there are

many elements of the status

quo that serve China's

purposes very well. In core

ee why were to be reunite --

Korea were to be reunited it

will be reunited under the leadership of South Korea

which is a democracy,

prosperous and ally of the

US. Now China doesn't want a

nation like that sharing a

land border with it. Sharing

a land border with a country

which is even more repressive

and certainly a lot worse off

than China is, that actually

makes China look quite good.

Its been a bit concerned by

the inflow of North Korean

refugees, but its very

brutally forced them back

into North Korea and you

know, suppressed them at the

border and so on. At the same

time, it allows China to

really rattle both the US and

Japan without having to own

the action itself. You know,

it can encourage North Korea

or allow North Korea to cause

trouble for Japan and the US

but it doesn't have to pay

the price for it and finally,

it gives China an extra

leverage with the US, the US

is always asking China for

help with North Korea. Now if the North Korea situation

were solved that would be one

of the main things that

Washington has to ask Beijing

for help for, off the agenda.

So I think all of these

factors suit the Chinese and

the Chinese are perfectly sanguine about a fam ill

which kills a -- famine which

kills a third of the North

Korean population, I don't think it hurts them one

little bit. You mentioned

this security situation, now

as you indicated earlier, provocative military actions

have traditionally been a way

of asserting authority within

North Korea. How worried

should its neighbours South

Korea and Japan be about some sort of incident in the

coming weeks and months? I

think that's a very strong

possibility. I have spent a

loot of time in South Korea,

a lot of time on the boarder

and its a bit like Israel and Palestine. What impresses you

is how short the distances

are. Within 20 or 30 km north

of the Korean border North

Korea has thousand thousands

of artillery pieces nestled

in the hill side and virtually vulnerable to

allied air attack and they

could destroy the city of

Seoul with its 12 million

inhabitants in a day of shelling. Now, I don't think

they are going to do that

because that would mean their own regime will be

incinerated but they have a

long history of assassinating

South Korean ministers,

trying to assassinate South

Korea Presidents, attacking

South Korean ships. And

shelling villages. Now, its

very hard to take effective

military action against them

because you don't know what

their triggers for escalation

are and when they may go

nuclear. Now, this regime in

Pyongyang although it is very paranoid it has been very interested in regime survival

so I think that will prevent

them from going into a full

scale military conflict but I think you know we have

already seen the South Korean

military go on alert and I

think that is a sign that

some kind of declaratory

action just to show that the

regime is still intact and

still has a fierce character,

see the North Koreans put an enormous store by their

marshal character, their

fighting spirit. The only

institution in the country

which gets any money is the

Army. And the only people who

are well fed are the

soldiers. And they always

want to demonstrate their

marshal spirit so I think the

chances of some kind of

military provocation are

quite substantial over the

next you know few weeks. And

just finally, Greg Sheridan is there any chance that the

death of Kim Jong-il, the

removal of that rein of fear

within North Korea, could see

any sort of Democratic up

rising or some sort of up

rising that is going to end

this dictatorship that has

lasted for so long there? I

think an up rising is

unlikely. I have interviewed

a lot of defectors and Induna

deed a number of veterans

much -- and indeed a number

of veterans of labour camps

in nob and really there is nothing like them on earth.

There is nothing like them on

earth. Anywhere in the Middle East, anywhere in Asia. The

degree of force and degree of

rep relation and the savagery

of this regime in killing

people, in exiling people,

and putting them in re

education camps for decades

for the slightest hint of

dissident opinion has left a

very malnourished and demoralised population which

has also been brain washed

about all their enemies

overseas E I think if you do see any liberalisation in the

north it is more likely to be

a brokered liberal isation

with more rational elements

of the leadership deciding

that perhaps they could take

a deal from the west. The

reason they haven't taken a

deal up till now is that they

assess probably quite rightly

that any opening up to the outside world would show

their own people what a

miserable life they have in comparison with anyone else

and they would quickly move

to replace the regime. But

you might get a military

regime which is a little more

rational, and is prepare ed

to make some kind of deal at

the margins. I'm sure they

are never going to give up

their nuclear weapons because

that is their ultimate

guarantee, and the mover for

all this really has to be

China. China has much more

leverage on North Korea than

the US, and the fact that

North Korea has been able to

hold out for all these

decades without making a deal

I think is a sign of China's

backing so that the Chinese

would have to think a deal

was a good idea and the new North Korean leadership would

have to think its a good

idea. Its possible but I wouldn't bet the house on

it. Greg Sheridan, foreign

editor of 'The Australian'

really appreciate your analysis of this big news this afternoon. Thank you.

Thanks, David. And we will

have ongoing coverage of the

death of Kim Jong-il, as the

ramifications of this sink in

around the region and around

the world. We are starting to

get a bit more international

reaction to this so do stay

with us on Sky News for

continued coverage of the

death of the North Korean

dictator. Also, the search

which is technically still

continuing for those who were

on board the boat that sank

off Java, of course the fears

grow even more grim for any

survivors, any more survivors

being found as each hour passes. We will have more ob that of course after the

break. Do stay with us on Sky News.