Norks notify institutions of nomination of Jong-un as successor
SEOUL, June 1 (Yonhap) -- North Korean authorities have notified the country's key institutions that leader Kim Jong-il has designated his third son, Kim Jong-un, as his successor, a source on North Korean affairs said Monday. "The authorities made the notification to the Workers' Party of Korea, the Korean People's Army, the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly and the Cabinet shortly after its latest nuclear test on May 25," the source said on condition of anonimity.
The notification came more than four months after Kim Jong-il was reported to have designated Jong-un, 25, as his successor and delivered a directive on the nomination to the Workers' Party leadership on January 8. The latest notification is interpreted as the North's move to officially have the junior Kim recognized as the leader's heir apparent in North Korean society.
Because the internal notification was made right after the nuclear test, it appears the North intended to highlight Jong-un's leadership through the notification.
|If we had a CIA worth anything we'd be nudging the other two sons to go after Jong-un ...|
The source also said the North notified its overseas missions, requiring them not to reveal the notification to the outside.
The decision by the elder Kim, 67, comes earlier than expected and was likely driven by his poor health after suffering a stroke last August. If actualized, the junior Kim's succession would be the second father-to-son power transfer in the communist country, unprecedented in modern history.
Jong-un was born to Kim's third wife, Ko Yong-hi, who died of breast cancer at the age of 51 in 2004. Jong-un was educated at the International School of Berne and is known to be a fan of NBA basketball. After his return to Pyongyang in his late teens, the North has kept him under a shroud of secrecy, and very little is known about his character.
Kim Jong-il was 32 when he was tapped as successor by his father and the nation's founder, Kim Il-sung, in a general meeting of the Workers' Party in February 1974. He took over after his father's death in 1994.
Kim Jong-il's former sushi chef, Kenji Fujimoto, said in a 2003 memoir that the elder Kim considers his second son, Jong-chol, to be "girlish." Kim's eldest son, Jong-nam, 37, also reportedly fell from his father's favor after being caught using a fake Dominican passport to get to Tokyo Disneyland in 2001.
Posted by: Steve White 2009-06-02