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Fri Dec 23, 2011, 06:31 AM

Behind North Korea's iron curtain

When the distraught newsreader in black made her appearance on the screen at lunchtime on Monday, some will have had a flashback to a day in July 17 years ago.

A weeping announcer then revealed the death of the previous leader - North Korea's founder and all powerful dictator, Kim Il-sung.

Then as now, questions were asked about the failure of South Korean and American intelligence to detect the death, some days previously, of the leader of a highly militarised - and now nuclear armed-state.

And then as now, analysts protest they have little more than educated guesswork to find out what is happening in the black box that is the North Korean leadership.

North Korea is still - by some margin - the world's most closed, isolated and repressive state.


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