North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il died in December. He apparently has been succeeded by his youngest son, Kim Jong-un. The death and succession demonstrated once again that North Korea must be the gold-standard for secretiveness. The death of Kim Jong-il was not even known outside North Korea for several days, to the extent that a senior retired Japanese intelligence official remarked publicly on his country’s intelligence failure. The North Koreans fired several missiles the day Kim Jong-il died, but no one seems to have associated those firings with that event. Yet the whole point of the firings was probably to warn other governments not to exploit any perceived weakness. Kim Jong-il had clearly been at the brink of death for some months, but it seems that no one outside North Korea had any way of knowing more than that.
World Naval Developments - The Perils of Succession
By Norman Friedman