Friday, April 10, 2009

North Korea's Kim preparing for succession

Kim Jong Il has promoted a trusted in-law to the spotlight in the clearest sign yet he is making preparations for an eventual successor. Kim appointed his brother-in-law Jang Song Thaek to the all-powerful National Defense Commission, providing analysts with clues about what the future may hold for North Korea after Kim either dies or becomes incapacitated.

The appointment shows Kim is trying to prepare for his eventual departure and pave the way to hand power to one of his sons. Jang is believed to back Kim's youngest son, 26-year-old Jong Un, as successor.

“In a system like North Korea, there is nobody else to trust but one's own flesh and blood,” said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor at Seoul's Dongguk University. “Jang is expected to play a decisive role in strengthening Kim's rule and as a guardian of Kim's successor.”

[Jae-Soon, The Associated Press]

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