Monday, September 06, 2010

Preparing North Korean hearts and minds for Kim Jong-un succession

Kim Jong Un as a student
In recent days, North Korean schoolchildren have taken to the streets to sing “Footsteps”, a song many believe was written for Kim Jong-Il's third son, Kim Jong-un, who is tipped to become the third member of the dynasty to rule the communist state.

In addition, thousands of people waving plastic flowers spent the weekend rehearsing for a parade, according to China's Xinhua news agency.

The city is reportedly decked out in posters announcing the upcoming Korean Workers' party Congress. "Let's make this a festive event that will shine in the history of our country and people," read one seen in footage from AP Television News.

The Rodong Sinmun, the party's newspaper, said delegates from across the country were poised to approve key policies and personnel changes at the heart of the regime's leadership. The meeting appears to coincide with the 62nd anniversary, on 9 September, of North Korea's founding by Jong-un's grandfather, Kim Il-sung.

In a typically colorful commentary, the Rodong Sinmun said: "The people's hearts awaiting the revolutionary, festive occasion heat up due to their joy and happiness."

Speculation that Kim Jong-un will eventually succeed Kim Jong-il has intensified since his 68-year-old father suffered a stroke two years ago. The meeting is the first party congress since 1980, when Kim Jong-il was confirmed as Kim Il-sung's successor, although he did not become leader until his father's death in 1994.

[The Guardian]

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