N Korea 'names Kim's successor'
North Korea's leader Kim Jong-il has designated his youngest son to be the country's next leader, according to reports in South Korean media.

Two newspapers and an opposition lawmaker said South Korea's spy agency had briefed legislators on the move.

North Korean officials were reportedly told to support Kim Jong-un after the North's 25 May nuclear test.

There has been much speculation over who would follow Mr Kim, who is thought to have suffered a stroke last year. Analysts have said the North's recent military actions, including last week's nuclear test, may have been aimed at helping Mr Kim solidify power so that he could name a successor.

The reports in the Hankook Ilbo and Dong-a Ilbo newspapers quoted unnamed members of South Korea's parliamentary intelligence committee briefed by the National Intelligence Service, although the spy agency refused to confirm the reports.

The Associated Press news agency reported that opposition legislator Park Jie-won, a member of the parliament's intelligence committee, told local radio he had been briefed by the government on the North's move. Mr Park said the regime is "pledging allegiance to Kim Jong-un", it reported.

Little is known about Kim Jong-il's youngest son, who is thought to have been born in 1983 or early 1984. The Dong-a Ilbo added that the North is teaching its people a song lauding Kim Jong-un - who reportedly enjoys skiing and studied English, German and French at a Swiss school.
Posted by: tipper 2009-06-02