North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju pay tribute this month at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, where his late father and grandfather lie in state. Photo: EPA

The contrasting fates of North Korea and Myanmar demonstrate the power of change

Donald Kirk says thriving Myanmar gives every impression of a society marching on in progress while North Korea, still in the tight grip of a dictatorship, appears to be heading for a tragedy

Topic |   Myanmar's democratic transition

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North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and his wife Ri Sol-ju pay tribute this month at the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang, where his late father and grandfather lie in state. Photo: EPA
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Donald Kirk

Donald Kirk

Donald Kirk is an author and journalist from Washington, D.C., and travels to South Korea, with stops in London, India, Pakistan, the Middle East, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines, among other places, writing on the confrontation of forces in the post-September 11 era. He was the Seoul correspondent for the International Herald Tribune from 1997 to 2003. Before gravitating to Northeast Asia, he covered much of the Vietnam War for the Chicago Tribune and the Washington Star. He has also written books on Korea, notably Korea Betrayed: Kim Dae Jung and Sunshine and Korean Dynasty: Hyundai and Chung Ju Yung.