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Kim Jong Il ‘names favourite son Jong Un as successor’ in North Korea

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Leo Lewis,
London Times
Thursday, Jan 15, 2009

North Korea’s enigmatic and ailing dictator, Kim Jong Il, is thought to have made a surprise selection of the man who will succeed him as leader of the nuclear-armed, Stalinist autocracy when he is gone.

Intelligence sources in Seoul today suggested that – very much against the expectations of South Korean analysis – Mr Kim, 66, has chosen this youngest and favourite son, Jong Un, to take over the all-pervasive family personality cult that controls the country.

The potential heir, who is thought to be no more than 24 years old, was educated in Switzerland and is the offspring of Kim’s third marriage and supposedly favourite wife – a woman who died five years ago.


In the regular and heated speculation among North Korea watchers over the shape of a world without Mr Kim, Jong Un has been routinely dismissed as a likely successor because of his youth.

Little about his upbringing is thought to make him especially suited to the task of following in his father and grandfather’s footsteps. If Jong Un does eventually assume control, he will inherit a persistently moribund economy, relations across the Korean peninsula that have plumbed new lows and an agricultural crisis that annually pushes the country dangerously close to outright famine.Analysts at the Korea Institute for National Unification said that the critical date to watch was the parliamentary election on March 8: if Jong Un is suddenly given a seat on the powerful National Defence Commission, said one KINU official, that will be a sign that he is begun the grooming process required before he can succeed his father.

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This article was posted: Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 11:21 am

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