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New Korean Leader

Eric Peterson

New Korean Leader

CREATED Dec. 19, 2011

While many people view the change of power as something happening half-way around the world, others see it as a moment in history. For one Appleton war veteran, he can't believe he's still talking about Korea, six decades later.

As a combat engineer, Ed Koleske spent about a year in Korea.

"I would've thought it could have been peacefully settled and straightened out. So the people could live decently. It just didn't work out that way," said Ed Koleske, a Korean War Veteran, from Appleton.

The Appleton veteran has since been back. He says in the North, the army makes the rules.

"If you're in the military you're all right. If you're not in the military, not so good," said Koleske.

So how will the son on Kim Jong Il handle running North Korea?

"He has very little experience," said Matty Wegehaupt, an Asian Studies Instructor at Lawrence University in Appleton.

Matty Wegehaupt teaches Asian Studies at Lawrence University in Appleton.

"It's a time for cautious optimism," said Wegehaupt.

He says Kim Jong Un has the job for now, but,

"When Kim Jong Un starts to make new decisions, and we see if he has the power and charisma backing him that his father had," said Wegehaupt.

Wegehaupt says Un has been schooled in the West, and may be open to modern ideas, but he needs to start at home.

"That remains goal number one for Kim Jong Un. He has to feed his people, and that's not really happening," said Wegehaupt.

Ed Koleske says time will tell.

"I would hope it gets better, but I don't think it's going to. Not until something happens to topple that regime," said Koleske.