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Kim Jong-un Is Back. What Happens When He’s Really Gone?

来源:纽约时报    2020-05-06 04:26

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        SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, reappeared in dramatic fashion this weekend when he was shown on North Korean media after three weeks of unexplained absence, cutting the ribbon on a fertilizer factory — and quieting rumors that he was gravely ill.
        韩国首尔——无缘无故消失了三周后,上周末,朝鲜领导人金正恩(Kim Jong-un)再次现身,他为一家化肥厂剪彩的消息,以引人注目的方式出现在朝鲜媒体上,平息了关于他病危的传言。
        But those weeks of hand-wringing over Mr. Kim’s fate, and North Korea’s future, showed again how little the world knows about what’s happening in the opaque, nuclear-armed country, and how vulnerable it is to misinformation about it.        但几周来有关金正恩生死和朝鲜未来的焦虑再次表明,世界对这个拥有核武器的不透明国家知之甚少,也表明这个国家很容易受到错误信息的影响。
        It seems that Mr. Kim is alive and well, after all. On Saturday, North Korean state media released photos and video footage of him smiling, chatting and walking before a large crowd at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which it said took place on Friday.        总之,金正恩看起来一切无恙。上周六,朝鲜官方媒体公布了他在上周五举行的剪彩仪式上微笑、聊天、走路的照片和视频。
        Such reports are almost impossible to confirm. But after the photos appeared, South Korea — which had repeatedly insisted there was “nothing unusual” happening in the North — issued a strong rebuke about the various news reports that had suggested Mr. Kim was in peril.        这样的报道几乎不可能证实。但在照片出现后,韩国对各种声称金正恩生命垂危的新闻报道进行了强烈谴责——韩国此前曾一再坚称,朝鲜没有发生“任何不寻常”的事情。
        “The groundless rumors about North Korea have caused various unnecessary economic, security and societal confusion and costs,” the South’s Unification Ministry said in a text message to reporters.        “有关朝鲜毫无根据的谣言造成了各种不必要的经济、安全和社会混乱与成本,”韩国统一部在发给记者的一条短信中表示。
        Still, Mr. Kim’s reappearance did nothing to explain the three-week absence from public view that led to the rumors, not least why he missed the important April 15 state ceremonies for the birth anniversary of his grandfather Kim Il-sung, North Korea’s founder.        尽管如此,金正恩的再次露面并不能解释他为何从公众视线中消失了三周,导致谣言四起,尤其是还缺席了4月15日纪念其祖父、朝鲜开国领袖金日成(Kim Il-sung)诞辰的重要仪式。
        And the speculation about Mr. Kim’s well-being — some reports had him in a “vegetative state” after botched heart surgery — brought home an alarming fact: that the world simply doesn’t know what would happen to the North and its nuclear arsenal should he suddenly die or become incapacitated.        关于金正恩健康状况的猜测——一些报道称他在心脏手术失败后处于“植物人状态”——带来一个令人担忧的事实:如果他突然死亡或丧失行动能力,世界根本无法知道朝鲜及其核武库会发生什么。
        Unlike his grandfather and his father, Kim Jong-il, both of whom spent years grooming their chosen sons as successors, Mr. Kim, 36, ​has no heir apparent. He is said to have three children, all too young to govern; his younger sister, Kim Yo-jong, has become a trusted aide, but there is skepticism that the North’s elderly generals would answer to a young woman.        他的祖父金日成和父亲金正日(Kim Jong-il)都曾花费多年培养自己选定的儿子为接班人,36岁的金正恩却没有明确的继承人。据说他有三个孩子,但年纪都太小,还不能执政;他的妹妹金与正(Kim Yo-jong)已成为一名值得信赖的助手,但有人怀疑,朝鲜那些年长的将军是否会听从一名年轻女子的调遣。
        “If anything, the past 10 days of frenzied speculation have revealed our weaknesses in intelligence and in reporting on what is happening inside North Korea,” said Jean H. Lee, a North Korea expert at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington. “Regardless, it has refocused our attention on Kim, his health, stability in North Korea and the family’s hold on power.”        “过去10天的疯狂猜测,至少暴露了我们在朝鲜内部情况的情报与报道方面的弱点。”华盛顿伍德罗·威尔逊国际学者中心(Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars)的朝鲜问题专家简·H·李(Jean H. Lee)说,“不管怎样,这让我们重新关注金正恩、他的身体状况、朝鲜的稳定以及他的家族对权力的掌控。”
        Even the perception of a leadership vacuum in the North could have dangerous consequences, analysts say. Misinformation could lead to miscalculation or unintended escalations by one party or another.        分析人士说,即便只是让人产生了朝鲜出现领导真空的印象,也可能导致危险的后果。错误信息可能会导致误判,或是某一方在无意中令局面升级。
        Over the decades, the rulers of the Kim dynasty have often disappeared from view for weeks or even months at a time. Each absence generated rumors of a coup, an assassination or a health crisis, always fueled by a lack of firsthand information about the leadership in Pyongyang, the capital.        几十年来,金氏王朝的统治者常常会从人们的视线中消失几周甚至几个月。每次消失都会引发政变、暗杀或病危的传言,由于缺乏有关首都平壤领导层的第一手信息,这些传言总会愈演愈烈。
        This time was no different. Even two North Korean defectors who were recently elected to the South’s Parliament — who might be expected to read the Pyongyang tea leaves better than most — said they were sure Mr. Kim was either dead or seriously ill.        这一次也不例外。甚至两名最近当选为韩国国会议员的脱北者(他们可能比大多数人更了解平壤的情况)也表示,他们确信金正恩不是死了,就是病得很重。
        “One thing is clear​,” said one, ​Thae Yong-ho, a former diplomat. “He cannot stand up by himself or walk properly​.”        “有一件事是明确的,”其中前外交官太永浩(Thae Yong-ho)说。“他不能自行站立,也不能正常走路。”
        Mr. Kim’s latest absence came at a particularly sensitive time. Since his diplomacy with President Trump stalled last year, Mr. Kim has dragged the North deeper into isolation, declaring that it was prepared for a prolonged standoff with Washington over its nuclear weapons program.        金正恩的这次消失发生在一个特别敏感的时刻。自从去年与特朗普总统的外交陷入僵局以来,金正恩把朝鲜进一步拖入了孤立状态,他宣称,朝鲜准备在核武器项目上与华盛顿长期对峙。
        But his plan to build a “self-supporting” economy in the face of international sanctions has been ambushed by the coronavirus, which forced North Korea to shut its borders. On Saturday, the state news agency said the fertilizer plant opened by Mr. Kim represented a “great victory” against the “mean sanctions and pressure from hostile forces” amid “the global catastrophe caused by the malicious virus.”        但是面对国际制裁,他建立“自给自足”经济的计划遭到了冠状病毒的伏击,该病毒迫使朝鲜关闭了边境。周六,朝鲜国家通讯社表示,金正恩剪彩的化肥厂代表着在“由恶性病毒引起的全球灾难”中,抗击“敌对势力的恶意制裁和压力”取得的“巨大胜利”。
        North Korea insists that it has had no Covid-19 cases, but outside experts fear it could be hiding a significant outbreak. Harry J. Kazianis, senior director of Korean studies at the Center for the National Interest in Washington, said the likeliest explanation for Mr. Kim’s absence was that he was “taking steps to ensure his health or may have been impacted in some way personally by the virus.” ​        朝鲜坚称自己没有新冠病例,但外界专家担心这可能是在掩盖国内的重大疫情。位于华盛顿的国家利益中心(Center for the National Interest)朝鲜问题研究高级主任哈里·J·卡兹亚尼斯(Harry J. Kazianis)表示,金正恩消失可能性最大的解释是,他“正在采取措施确保自己的健康,或者他本人有可能以某种方式受到了新冠病毒的影响。”
        One of the biggest lessons from recent weeks is that “the world is largely unprepared for instability in North Korea,” said Leif-Eric Easley, a professor of international studies at Ewha Womans University in Seoul.        首尔梨花女子大学(Ewha Womans University)的国际研究教授利夫-埃里克·伊斯利(Leif-Eric Easley)说,最近几周的最大教训之一是,“世界对朝鲜的不稳定基本上毫无准备”。
        Outside analysts fear that if Mr. Kim suddenly died, the country’s dozens of nuclear devices — as well as chemical and biological weapons, conventional arms and a 1.2 million-strong military — would be at the center of a messy, cutthroat contest for power.        外界分析人士担心,如果金正恩突然去世,一场混乱、残酷的权力争夺,将会围绕朝鲜的数十个核装置以及生化武器、常规武器和120万人的强大军队展开。
        ​“The combination of loose nukes and political conflict is a nightmare scenario for the world​,” said Danny Russel, vice president of the Asia Society Policy Institute, who dealt with North Korea as a National Security Council director at the White House and an assistant secretary of state for Asia. ​“Political turmoil could lead a faction or a commander to brandish or — God forbid — launch a nuclear-armed missile. ​”        “失控的核武器加上政治冲突,对世界来说会是一场噩梦。”亚洲协会政策研究所(Asia Society Policy Institute)副所长丹尼·拉塞尔(Danny Russel)说。“政治动荡可能导致一个派系一名将领叫嚣或者——但愿不会——发射一枚装有核武器的导弹。”
        Mr. Russel said that in the event of a leadership struggle, Washington’s immediate ​​priority would be to ensure ​“the security of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and material​.” But its work would be “handicapped by the intelligence community’s uncertainty about their exact whereabouts — something the North Koreans have gone to great lengths to conceal​,” he said.        拉塞尔说,如果出现领导权之争,华盛顿的当务之急将是确保“朝鲜核武器和材料的安全”。但他表示,“这项工作受困于情报部门无法确定它们的确切位置——这方面朝鲜一直在竭力隐藏。”
        China also fears instability in North Korea, which it considers a buffer state between itself and the American forces in South Korea.        中国也担心朝鲜出现不稳定局面,它认为朝鲜是中国和驻韩美军之间的缓冲国。
        Some analysts think China would intervene to secure the North’s nuclear facilities and install a new leader to its liking, should Mr. Kim’s rule end. But others are skeptical about its ability to do so, given the deep-rooted distrust that has shadowed the countries’ alliance. Besides, decades of extreme nationalistic indoctrination have left North Koreans wary of any intervention by foreigners, be they American or Chinese.        一些分析人士认为,如果金正恩的统治结束,中国将进行干预,以确保朝鲜核设施的安全,并根据自己的意愿安排一名新的领导人。但是,鉴于两国联盟背后隐藏着根深蒂固的不信任,也有人怀疑中国是否有这个能力。此外,数十年的极端民族主义灌输让朝鲜人对外国人的任何干预都保持警惕,不管是美国人还是中国人。
        The police state’s control over the population has been such that a civil uprising is all but unthinkable in the North. But if that control should loosen during a murky transition period, long-held grievances against ​official corruption and economic hardship ​could erupt into protests. ​        这个警察国家对人民保持着高度控制,因此在朝鲜发生一场公民起义几乎是不可想象的。但如果在混乱的过渡时期内,这样的控制出现放松,长期以来对官员腐败和经济困难的不满可能会演变为抗议。
        Such considerations have long complicated discussions between American and South Korean officials as they struggled to formulate top-secret plans for handling crises in North Korea, including how to prevent the North’s nuclear arms from falling into the wrong hands.        美国和韩国官员一直在艰难地制定应对朝鲜危机的绝密计划,包括如何防止朝鲜核武器的控制权旁落,这些问题的考量也一直在妨碍计划的制定。
        “With U.S.-China relations at an absolute low point, what happens if U.S. and Chinese special forces find themselves face to face while attempting to seize control of a North Korean base?” Mr. Russel asked.        “在美中关系处于绝对低点的情况下,如果美国和中国特种部队在试图夺取一座朝鲜基地时碰面,将会发生什么?”拉塞尔问道。
        “Conversely, Washington may suddenly have to deal with a South Korean ally who sees a now-or-never chance to reunify the Korean Peninsula and begins a northward push despite U.S. objections,” he said. “Does the United States in that case relent and provide air cover and support, or stand back and run the risk of a military disaster?”        “另一方面,华盛顿还有可能不得不突然应付韩国盟友,它可能会觉得朝鲜半岛出现了千载难逢的统一良机,可能会不顾美国反对,开始向北推进,”他说。“在这种情况下,美国会纵容韩国,提供空中掩护和支持,还是冒着军事灾难的风险袖手旁观?”
        ​For now, such questions will subside — until Mr. Kim disappears again.        目前,这些问题都会平息——直到金正恩再次消失。

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