Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Kim Jong-un, son of Kim Jong-il tests role as North Korean heir

Kim Jong-un, the third and youngest son of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has been increasingly visible on official occasions and masterminded some of the country’s major publicity events in an apparent bid to burnish his image as a successor, sources said.

Yonhap reports that Kim Jong-un organized the unusually massive April 15 fireworks held to mark the 97th birthday of Kim Il Sung. Kim Jong-un also initiated an economic reconstruction drive, called the “150-day campaign,” sources privy to North Korean internal affairs said on condition of anonymity. The 150-day campaign is a nationwide movement to rebuild the country’s struggling economy by maximizing its labor force during the period.

Cheong Seong-chang, a North Korea expert at the nongovernmental Sejong Institute, said Jong-un, with no major post yet in the Workers’ Party, appears to be attempting impressive feats ahead of his official nomination.

Sources earlier said that Jong-un has been appointed to a low-level post called “instructor” in the National Defense Commission, the highest military decision-making body. The instructor post, however, is too low to be seen as a sign of his succession, Cheong said.

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