North Korea appears to be forever teetering on the brink. The very fact that it can still function as a quasi-Marxist totalitarian state is a mystery to outside observers. "Even today, with a rival state thriving next door, the regime is able to maintain public security without a ubiquitous police presence or a fortified northern border," said one North Korea expert. But next week, when Kim Jong-il is expected to transfer power to his 28-year-old son Kim Jong-un, the country’s stability could face its biggest threat in decades. He will inherit a starving state and will do so without the decades of experience his father had when he rose to power or the massive networks of influence. The only solution, if Kim Jong-un is to keep North Korea afloat, is radical change. "If the regime does not open up economically, the country will barely progress,” another expert claimed. “But even with a little more openness, North Korea can make enormous economic gains."